Joe Public striker will be aiming to carry on from his double goal performance in his last international appearance when Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior footballers tune up for the Digicel Caribbean Championship against Antigua/Barbuda at the Marvin Lee Stadium from 6pm on Wednesday.
Baptiste netted a double against Mexico in T&T’s 2-2 draw in their closing 2010 World Cup qualifying fixture last October and went on the heat up the T&T Pro League scoring charts but subsequently missed their recent outing against Chile.
Coming off an injury, he will be eager to impress Russell Latapy as the squad of home-based professionals try to stake their claim for a place for a showing at the Regional Finals.
“It’s always an honour to put on the national shirt but the main focus here is that it’s a new beginning because we are looking ahead to the Digicel Championship, the Gold Cup and the World Cup in 2014.
That means that all of us as players should be pumped up to go out and give a good showing and pull of a good victory,’ Baptiste told TTFF Media on the eve of the encounter. Latapy has stressed the need for T&T to dominate on the Caribbean stage and Baptiste agrees.
“The gaffer has been telling us that it’s time for us to dominate the other Caribbean teams as well if it is that we are to go on to do well on the Concacaf level and these kind of games are the ones where we need to show our superiority and not just play good football but also score big victories.
Football is played on the day so we must show that we are capable of living up to the expectations by producing the goods on the pitch.
“We will take the game seriously but we want to dominate the match because these teams from the Caribbean are always keen to give us a hard time but it should be a good match before we face Jamaica next month and then move on the Digicel matches,” he added.
Baptiste has been reportedly linked to a move back to Ipswich Town for another trial but will remain home to represent Joe Public in the upcoming Concacaf Champions League until further development.
Latapy’s team trained once on Tuesday at the match venue and will be strengthened by the addition of the likes of Trent Noel, Makan Hislop, Marvin Phillip, Hayden Tinto and Robert Primus who all missed the 2-0 loss to Chile. Primus meantime is set to go off to trial in Greece this week.
“It’s one of those games which will give us an idea as to where we’re at. We played Chile a while back which was a good game for us against a top team that went to the World Cup.
But it’s a different type of football and a different kind of competition we are preparing for so I just want to see how my players will do against teams like these. I’m satisfied with the way the young players have been taking things on board,” Latapy added.
Antigua’s head coach Rowen Benjamin has said that his team will not be daunted by playing T&T at home and they will use the encounter to try and build confidence ahead of their Digicel campaign.
He expects his team to give the “Soca Warriors” a good run and possibly come away with what would be an upset victory for the visitors.
W Connection defender Clyde Leon is out through injury while Keon Daniel is also missing from the T&T line up as he is now based overseas with Puerto Rico Islanders.
Defence Force duo Devon Jorsling and Kevon Carter who both started versus Chile will be hoping to impress in national colours and continue the kind of form which has seen them carry their club to the top of the T&T Pro League. Tickets will be on sale at the match venue priced at $40 (adults) and $20.
Click links below to view videos of Latapy and Jorsling pre-game comments as well as Warriors training clip.
Latapy comments before Antigua.
Warriors get ready for Antigua
Devon Jorsling looks ahead to upcoming friendlies
Trinidad and Tobago vs Antigua and Barbuda - Group H - Digicel Caribbean Championships 2008