Tue, Jun

Sydney FC striker Dwight Yorke took part in his first training session with the National Team during the evening period at the National Stadium, Panama City on Wednesday.

Yorke, after flying from Perth to Sydney and then to Miami, arrived here shortly after 1pm and settled in, saying “he felt fine as ever” before going over to the training field with Leo Beenhakker’s team for  training at 4pm (5pm T&T time).

The T&T “Warriors” trained on Wednesday morning too at the same venue under sweltering heat but conditioned were cooler in the evening and it suited Yorke and the rest of the team.

While the majority of the day was spent either resting up at the Riande Aeropuerto Hotel in between sessions, there was still time at the lunch period for Wrexham defender Dennis Lawrence to lead his teammates in singing “Happy Birthday” to Southampton striker Kenwyne Jones who turned 21 on the day.

“It’s a great day to be here with the guys preparing for such a big game in my short career so far,” Jones told TTFF Media.

“I am just happy to be back with the team and to be able to see another year. Being welcomed back after the injury is also a big boost personally for me. I think too that once we can all put our minds to it as we should then it can turn out to  be an ever bigger celebration on Saturday and then next week when we play at home,” Jones added.

The former National Under 23, Under 20 and Under 17 member went on to say that he intends to establish himself as a starting striker for Southampton and feels he should be playing more since returning from injury which kept him out for two weeks.

But he sees a different role with the national team which faces Mexico in Port of Spain next Wednesday.

“Today I’m only 21, and I think I have a lot more years to play football and a lot more to learn and while I’ll push for a starting role and then definitely I will take my chance when it comes. For the moment it’s going to take a total team effort to get where we really want to be and that is in Germany next year,” Jones said.

The former St Anthony’s College player recalled scoring a double in his final season against St Mary’s College and another double, once given play time, will be the Birthday present of a lifetime come Saturday.

But Panama, despite missing a few regulars in their team, has no intentions of making it easy for Jones and company.

Their Colombian-born coach José "Cheché" Hernández indicated this when he spoke on Tuesday after conducting a session at the National Stadium.

“We will play our normal game as if we have something to play for,” Hernandez said. “While there is maybe more for Trinidad in this competition now I don’t expect we will give them as easy time and they will have to earn a good result if they want it. We do have some new players but at the same time we are very keen to do well in this match,”