Thu, Jul

TRINIDAD and Tobago football team captain Dwight Yorke is expecting two tough battles against Bahrain in the home-and-away World Cup play-offs on November 12 and 16.

"It’s not going to be an easy task," said the 34-year-old Yorke at the Piarco International Airport yesterday. "It’s going to be very difficult."

"Bahrain is going to put up a very difficult task ahead of us," he said shortly after arriving from Sydney, Australia via Los Angeles and Miami, USA.

"We’re just going to be prepared to match them in the same spirit like we matched Mexico," the Tobago-born former Manchester United star said.

The striker returned home from Sydney, Australia, via Los Angeles and Miami, US yesterday afternoon with goalkeeper Shaka Hislop due in last night.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago skipper, his journey home was normal, something he said he’s used to now.

"It’s never easy but it’s good to be back," he added. "It’s always good go get here in one piece and that’s most important."   
The Australians are also preparing for their home-and-away play-offs against Uruguay, but Yorke revealed that his teammates at Sydney FC are also rallying behind him and the Warriors.

"The last match justified that there was a lot of support out there, rooting for Trinidad and Tobago to qualify," he said. "They’re hoping that they can do the same for their country but it’s two massive matches so we need to get our focus there back again.

"So (we’re) trying to take up where we left off against Mexico (on October 12)," he noted.

A member of the Strike Squad team who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Yorke is confident that the present crop of players can earn a first-ever FIFA World Cup spot for Trinidad and Tobago.

"Obviously it’s got that sort of feeling," he said, when asked about the mood now as it was 16 years ago. "The Strike Squad is always going to be a special time for everyone who has been there and witnessed it and how close we were to go in Italy in that particular time. It’s no question that this team is hoping to go one step better," Yorke said.

He said his fitness was not really the issue. "It’s just recovering and getting the body adjusted to the way of life and the climate here again. The football side of things should not be too much of a problem," Yorke said.

And the experienced forward, who has successfully converted to a midfielder during the past year, is also mindful of what success against Bahrain will bring to Trinidad and Tobago, especially the young people.

"(The youths) need something to happen and hopefully this team, if (we) qualify, it just goes to show if you put your heart at it, your mind at it and you’re willing to work extremely hard and always encourage the young people in this nation that there’s something for them to look forward to," he ended.