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UNC Political Leader Winston Dookeran has extended congratulations to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Team for securing a place in the finals of the 2006 World Cup to be staged in Germany.

In a statement issued yesterday, Dookeran said the Warriors must be congratulated for a "magnificent victory" over Bahrain on Wednesday.

He noted that the team had brought renewed pride to all citizens of this country.

"We salute them for this Herculean achievement on behalf all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago."

Dookeran said he also wanted to congratulate the national community for "the spontaneous manner in which they rose to this occasion and it has unearthed a great desire on our part for achieving excellence and for unity."

He said this should be "emulated not only in the field of sports but in the politics of our land."

Dookeran then issued "a special word of thanks and appreciation" to FIFA Vice President and deputy political leader of the UNC, Austin Jack Warner, for his invaluable contribution to Trinidad and Tobago's historic achievement". Trinidad and Tobago has become only the second English speaking Caribbean nation to reach a World Cup finals. The first was Jamaica in 1998.

Dookeran said Warner must be congratulated for "the vision he had and for actually making it happen by his contribution in this regard. The whole country must be appreciative of Jack Warner's efforts."

Meanwhile, acting President Dr Linda Baboolal has congratulated the national football team and all citizens for a tremendous achievement in winning a place in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Trinidad and Tobago observed the success with a public holiday yesterday. Baboolal said she was asked to sign the documents for approving the holiday which she did on Wednesday night.

Baboolal, who was acting for President George Maxwell Richards, who was in Bahrain for the qualifying match, said she was "elated" by the result and noted that Trinidad and Tobago waited "a long time for this." Baboolal said the most important thing was that "the entire country was fully in support of the team and they lived up to our expectation."

She said she hoped that the team would continue to train hard and do well at the World Cup next year.

She singled out Dennis Lawrence, captain Dwight Yorke, Stern John and others for special commendation. Baboolal said Yorke showed his determination to "bleed for his country" during Wednesday's game. And she commended all citizens for the manner in which the celebrated after the game.