Sat, Jul

English-based goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has revealed that persuasion from Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy was the main factor in him making his international debut for Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly match against Jamaica in 1999.

In a recent question and answer segment, the West Ham United custodian said that he had thought long and hard about his international career after trying to make his debut for the England following several call ups by that country’s senior team.

But then Yorke, a Manchester United star at the time and Latapy told him the time was suitable for him to wear the T&T shirt.  Latapy and Hislop will be part of the traveling party coming in from London on BWIA 900 on Tuesday at 4:35pm for Saturday’s 2006 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.

The other pros coming in will be Chris Birchall, who will meet Latapy for the first time, Kelvin Jack, Ian Cox, Marvin Andrews, Stern John, Carlos Edwards and Brent Sancho. They will all be met by Special Advisor to the TTFF Jack Warner and other TTFF officials upon arrival and a media briefing will be held in conjunction with Saturday’s match at the Piarco VIP Lounge. Yorke arrives at 1:35pm on American Airlines.

“The reason was Dwight and Russell convincing me that it was the right time (back in 1999) to come back and to put my differences with the TTFF behind me in an effort to see this team qualify for the World Cup. The differences before has  been a down point in my career. It’s not a lot to say about it but without going into much detail, they are differences which have not really been directly addressed but maybe those differences will be better served with my representing T&T and my dealing with them at  a higher level. I definitely see the potential for things to happen better from here on,” Hislop told TTFF Media, adding that he was again pleased to be part of the current squad with the selected players trying to  help T&T realize its World Cup dream

During a period leading up to his eventual debut for T&T, Hislop had been in line for selection on the England first team. He added “I have no regrets at all”  about having gone on to don the T&T colours.

For the past three World Cup qualifiers, Kelvin Jack has been the first choice and both ‘keepers have developed a good on and off the field relationship.

“Even though I am the man in the goal of recent I still have the utmost respect for Shaka and he’s a great professional to work with. Whether I’m in or he’s in there’s always that mutual respect,” Jack said.

Hislop believes that currently, T&T still holds a formidable chance of finishing in the top three teams for the World Cup qualification.

“Without a doubt, this game on Saturday is a huge one for us. I don’t think anyone needs to put that down for us to understand it. Even with the last two losses, I still think we have what it takes to get there. The entire team including the home-based pros have kept their efforts up and we all must put in everything for the remaining games if we are to pull off the sort of results to take us through,” Hislop ended.

Japanese-based midfielder Silvio Spann and US-based duo Scott Sealy and Avery John came in on Monday and will be part of the Tuesday morning training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Scottish-based striker Jason Scotland comes in Wednesday while the Guatemalans are scheduled to arrive on Thursday.