Trinidad & Tobago
In 2006, the Caribbean nation became the smallest country to ever qualify for a World Cup. Bolstered by the confidence of its run to Germany in ’06, the Soca Warriors want to make it two World Cup appearances in a row.
Feb 11: Trinidad & Tobago at El Salvador
Mar 28: Honduras at Trinidad & Tobago
Apr 1: Trinidad & Tobago at USA
Jun 6: Costa Rica at Trinidad & Tobago
Jun 10: Trinidad & Tobago at Mexico
Aug 12: El Salvador at Trinidad & Tobago
Sept 5: Trinidad & Tobago at Honduras
Sept 9: USA at Trinidad & Tobago
Oct 10: Trinidad & Tobago at Costa Rica
Oct 14: Mexico at Trinidad & Tobago
T&T does not have the luxury of playing two home games in a row. This home-away-home-away format means fatigue will certainly be an issue for the players as the team works through the Hexagonal. The only saving grace comes with the final two home games. These last two are against the USA and Mexico. Hopefully, the US and El Tri will have locked up bids to the World Cup. The two powers might simply send the B-teams down to the Port of Spain. If this is the case, T&T could be gifted a trip to South Africa.
Meet the Members of the Team
Colombian manager Francisco Maturana leads the Soca Warriors into the Hexagonal. This experienced team is looking for one last international run. With two top players returning from retirement, the squad certainly has the veteran savvy component covered.
Russell Latapy: Returning yet again from international retirement, Latapy sealed T&T’s advancement into the Hexagonal with some late qualifying heroics. Originally slated to be an assistant coach on the team, the 40-year-old returned to the pitch in September. His opening goal in the 2-1 victory over the USA on October 15 only added to his legendary fame on the islands. Is the playmaker going to retain his current form in 2009?
Julius James: When I spoke to the 24-year-old defender this past February I asked him about his thoughts on a future call-up with the Soca Warriors. He remarked, “I hope that becoming a professional, playing, and improving can get me a chance.” The future came in September when James earned his first cap against Guyana. The Toronto FC player has the right blend of athleticism and competitive drive. You have to admire someone that notes “I never really share my goals, but I intend to make them.”
Stern John: The Southampton forward, on loan at Bristol City until January 2009, is the second most capped player in the history of the team. The 32-year-old is also the all-time leading scorer with 69 goals. If Kenwyne Jones’ knee injury hinders his performance, can Stern John carry the attack?
Dwight Yorke: The 37-year-old, who scored the second goal in the crucial 2-1 victory over the USA, also came back from retirement to save T&T.
Costa Rica at Trinidad & Tobago (June 6, 2009): A loss or a draw could prove disastrous for T&T. Three points are vital here in the race for third place.
Best Case Scenario: 3rd place. The Soca Warriors make it two in a row as T&T returns to the World Cup.
Worst Case Scenario: 6th place. Don’t forget this team narrowly escaped early in qualifying as Bermudian striker John Nusum scored twice to take a 2-1 advantage back to Bermuda. T&T luckily overcame this embarrassment in the second leg to move on.