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Sat, Oct

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Chris Birchall.Trinidad and Tobago’s National Senior team will head into the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals as the number one ranked Caribbean team after jumping 28 spots to 78th on the latest FIFA World Rankings.

Following its impressive three victories in the Digicel Caribbean Cup Group F phase earlier this month, T&T now stands ahead of Jamaica (82nd) and Guyana (86th).

The Russell Latapy coached team will depart for Martinique on November 23 ahead of their opening match on November 26 against Cuba.

Latapy will name his final 20-man squad on the weekend but it has been confirmed that LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall will not join the squad for the tournament.

Birchall was invited but has not been released by the LA Galaxy and will instead travel with the team for a tour of Australia. And San Jose Earthquakes striker Cornell Glen is also unavailable as he continues to recover from an injury.

“We have been communicating with Chris and unfortunately he has not been released by the LA Galaxy as they have asked him to be part of their squad for a visit to Australia just prior to the start of the Digicel Caribbean Cup,” team manager David Muhammad told TTFF Media on Wednesday.

“We don’t view his absence as a blow however. It is evident that the squad of players we have right now, particularly those in the midfield, continue to demonstrate their capabilities and we have fullest confidence in those players available to us at this present time.”

Meantime, former T&T captain and current Sky TV football pundit Dwight Yorke has passed on some words of encouragement to head coach Latapy and his team.

“I have followed the progress of the team and obviously I’ve been getting bits of feedback and it’s been encouraging. I think the team definitely has the potential to be among the best in the region.

I still believe that at this present time Russell is the best man for the job (head coach) and he has to get all the support and resources possible to take the team forward.

He knows too that I’m always there for any advice or support that he may need. I hope that the team continues to develop into  a stronger unit under his guidance and I’ll be following with interest,” Yorke said.