Former Birmingham City striker Stern John will captain Trinidad and Tobago in Friday’s 2014 CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Bermuda which kicks off at 8pm (7pm T&T time).
John was handed the responsibility by head coach Otto Pfister as the T&T team continued its training camp in Hamilton Bermuda on Tuesday. The current team is without regular captain Kenwyne Jones who is recovering from a hamstring strain.
Pfister had a full squad at his disposal with Belgium-based duo Khaleem Hyland and Radanfah Abu Bakr joining the camp the previous evening along with Columbus Crew defender Julius James. The team trained on the Grotto Bay compound on Tuesday morning under heavy rainfall.
John has 70 goals in 112 appearances and is by far the most experienced player in the Trinidad and Tobago 2014 squad. And he’s setting his sights on the world top goalscorers chart.
John is currently in fifth position among the highest ever scorers in international football. His goal in the recent 3-0 win over India put him ahead of Egypt’s Hossam Hassan (69).
John is five goals off Kuwait’s Bashar Abdullah (75 in 134 matches), Brazilian legend Pele (77 goals in 93 matches), Hungary’s Puskas (84 goals in 85 matches) and leader Ali Daei of Iran who has 109 goals from 149 appearances.
John is also ahead of Germany’s Gerd Muller (68 in 62) and Argentina’s Gabriel Batistuta (56 in 78) in the top ten list.
“It’s always an honour to captain your national team. I’ve worn the armband before but again there still is a level of a responsibility that comes with the position especially as we’re heading into a World Cup qualifier,” John told TTFF Media on Tuesday.
“The coach has shown that faith in me. I’m aware of how crucial it is to get maximum points from our upcoming matches and I think the rest of the boys know this as well so it’s a matter of us keeping focused and preparing well so we can get the job done on Friday.”
Regarding his current goal tally, John is obviously looking to add to his current number.
“It’s always good to be on a top list but I think the real intention is to ensure I can contribute in a meaningful way to ensure the team progresses in the campaign.
If me scoring goals mean I will make a jump on the charts then that’s good but the most important thing for me is to ensure my performance helps the team achieve winning results,” John added.
Bradford City striker Nahki Wells is also back inthe Bermuda team and is hoping to inspire his side to a win.
“I think we are all ready for the game. We know our strengths and we know the Trinidad team well also having already played them once before.
I think we have a good chance of getting the three points but we know it will be a difficult game. I’d like to see all the Bermuda fans come out to support us on Friday,” Wells said.
Bermuda Football Association General Secretary David Sabir said the inclement weather on the island over the past couple days should not make the pitch unplayable on Friday.
“The Ground itself has been well designed and there is excellent drainage around it which means that the ground will not get to a state which will affect the staging of the game. The weather hasn’t been too kind to us but we expect this to improve by Friday,” Sabir said.
“Currently there is interest in the game from locals as well as the Trinidadians on the island who have been contacting our offices daily to find out more about the match itself and ticket sales.
The game is a massive one for us because we have a chance to once again host a country that has been to a World Cup Finals and that in itself is a big seller for the people in Bermuda.
They will want to come and not just support their national team but also catch a look at what Trinidad has to offer.
And whatever possibility there is of Bermuda defeating Trinidad and Tobago then the fans definitely will not want to miss that,” he added.