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Tue, Jun

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With a chance of securing a second berth to a Fifa World Cup finals still high on the agenda, assistant coach of the Soca Warriors, Anton Corneal is not counting out another strong run in 2014.
The Soca Warriors qualified for their first ever World Cup finals in Germany in 2006 after winning a playoff with Asia’s Bahrain, and on Wednesday, they registered their first ever qualifying win over long-time nemesis, USA 2-1.

Those performances have placed the team in the drivers seat to reach the Final Round of qualification for a sixth time in 13 attempts. USA has already qualified with 12 points from five matches, while T&T has eight points, Guatemala, five and Cuba, three.

On the final match day in the Second Round group, the Soca Warriors, needing only a point to advance, will be at home to Cuba on November 19, while Guatemala must hope T&T loses while they beat the US away.

While not counting out the team’s dreams of reaching South Africa in 2010, Corneal’s said his 2014 ambitions are based on the abundance of emerging talent home and abroad.

His comments echoed those of T&T captain Dwight Yorke, who after the win over the USA at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Wednesday, said: “The young players have lots of talent and drive. All they need is a little guidance and determination.”

While the 37-year-old Yorke and 40-year-old Latapy will surely not be on the playing field in 2014, Corneal said he was very excited about what is available: “We have a lot of young guys in the team for the Digicel Caribbean Cup series and by giving them the needed exposure in tournaments like these it will help our football and the players to grow.”

Corneal pointed out that the likes of Coventry City midfielder Christopher Birchall, Belgium-based Khaleem Hyland (SV Zulte Waregem), Marvin Phillip (W Connection), Glenroy Samuel (United Petrotrin), Makan Hislop (United Petrotrin), Julius James (Toronto FC), Karlon Murray (Jabloteh), Aklie Edwards (Defence Force), Clyde Leon (W Connection), Keon Daniel (United Petrotrin), Lester Peltier (Jabloteh), Jamal Gay (Joe Public), Devon Jorsling (Defence Force) and Daneil Cyrus (T&T Under-20) were all around 25 years or under and by the time the next campaign came around would be at their peak.