When Soca Warriors skipper Dennis Lawrence leads the team onto the field against the USA in their World Cup Qualifier today, he will be sporting a new captain’s arm band.
The new band is an improvement on what was handed over to special advisor of the T&T Football Federation, Jack Warner, last November, and was presented to Lawrence by Minister of Legal Affairs Peter Taylor, at a press conference at the Crown Plaza Hotel, yesterday.
Minister Taylor said when he presented the band to Warner last November, it was only a replica, since he knew his ministry would have to get a manufacturer of good quality. He said the band is not what he wanted the final product to be but was an improved version on the skipper’s arm and would not fall off. The minister said more importantly, it represents the creativity of T&T.
The item has now been certified by the Intellectual Property Office, giving the state full rights to design it, as well as to authorise who can use the design and on which articles. Warner said he is hoping the armband will help to galvanize the spirit, hopes and aspirations of the team. “Let us hope the arm band helps to give the team the type of cohesion, the kind of spirit needed to bring victory home.
Whatever happens afterwards, whether we qualify or not, the fact is that if we play the game and play it well, we shall go down in the records of football and more so FIFA, as another country to have beaten the US,” said Warner. In heaping praises on the minister for his support, Warner said it is only when you are down and out, like how some people feel the team is at this point, that you realise who your friends are.
Yorke gives up captain's armband.
By: Ian Prescott (T&T Express).
Dwight Yorke cited the ravages of time as prompting his retirement from football as he symbolically handed over the Trinidad and Tobago captain's armband to Dennis Lawrence yesterday at a media conference at Crowne Plaza, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
As Legal Affairs Minister Peter Taylor put the band on veteran defender Lawrence's right arm, it marked the end of an era for Yorke, who led the Soca Warriors at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and played in the current qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup, until announcing his retirement last week.
With the symbolic move, Yorke has officially completed his retirement as a player with the national team, although he stays on with the Warriors for the final three qualifiers as assistant to head coach Russell Latapy, including tonight's game against the United States at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
"Being at 38...which I will be in a month's time or so, I felt that the body couldn't carry on like that any more. And I had set myself a certain standard as an individual, and to not compete at the level that I think I am capable of competing at tells me that it was a time to call it a day," said Yorke.
"I felt it was time because as I said before I set myself a certain standard as an individual. I no longer could do that...to lead the team as I did in the past.
"It is a pretty difficult decision," he confessed. "Football has given me the opportunity to fulfil my dream as a young man growing up to go out there to England and play at the highest level. It gave me a certain stability in life as well...helped me to learn and develop as an individual.
Also to see the faces when you play in a stadium was just a dream. And to live that was fantastic."
Now officially retired, Yorke said he will continue to inspire young players, similar to how he was inspired by veteran T&T goalie Michael Maurice when he was a youngster with the national team in the late 1980s, the legendary Strike Squad, which got to within just a point of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup.
Yorke hinted that his role will now be as a leader from the sidelines.
"I would like to think that I could contribute something to Trinidad and Tobago football," he said. "I would like to think that at some stage I can sit down with the Trinidad and Tobago FA and find out in terms of what I can contribute to Trinidad and Tobago football."
Yorke played 72 times for Trinidad and Tobago and scored 26 goals. He said his career highlight was leading the team at the 2006 World Cup.
The former Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, and Sunderland player made 480 appearances in English football during which he scored 147 goals.
He won three Premier League titles during his time at Old Trafford and had reinvented himself as a midfielder at Sunderland before his release at the end of the last campaign.
"While I'm still in great shape, I'm not getting any younger. I've had the time of my life," Yorke, who also won the UEFA Champions League with United, told the English media last Friday. "I hope people will say that I played the game in the right way with a smile on my face.
"I've been blessed really. I've played alongside some of the greatest players the Premier League has ever seen in Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Peter Schmeichel, and played for the greatest manager in Sir Alex Ferguson.
"I'll always count myself lucky. I was a boy on a beach from a little Caribbean island that got the chance to fulfil his dream of winning trophies at the highest level and captaining his country in their first-ever World Cup finals."