Head Coach Leo Beenhakker will be hoping to maximize the chance of using up to six substitutes in Tuesday’s friendly international against Iceland at Loftus Road from 8pm (4pm T&T Time) as the “Soca Warriors” continue their build up to the 2006 World Cup.
Beenhakker expressed pleasure with the match organizers allowing the six changes a she intends to allow as much players possible the chance to be involved in what is T&T’s first match since the 1-0 win over Bahrain in November. The Tourism Development Company have give its fullest support in the encounter and the two teams will play for the TDC Pre World Cup Trophy. Some 7,000 tickets were sold up to Monday and it was expected that sales will continue down the kick off time. A large contingent of T&T fans, including those from the recently established “Warrior Nation” supporters group and others from the Caribbean Community in England are expected to turn out for the affair.
After conducting his second session of the trip at the Queen’s Park Rangers training ground, Beenhakker accompanied his team to a press conference at the Renaissance Hotel in which the team’s new Adidas World Cup kit was unveiled in the presence of other officials including FIFA Vice President Jack Warner. Attending were representatives from leading UK, German and Swedish Media Companies.
Warner spoke of his hopes for the team in Tuesday’s match as well as the World Cup in June, saying “We are going to ensure that we give the best possible presentation to the World. We are not going there to just make up numbers but we must show the world that we can compete and I want to assure you that this will happen.
“We had two intentions which was to get the World Cup which we did and the second one was to get to play England and we have also done this,” said Warner, also adding that the England team was so popular back home that some fans would even be able to give the blood types of the England players.
Beenhakker too spoke of his intentions to have the best possible team prepared for the World Cup, also discarding questions on whether he will consider any offers to coach another country including England.
“No. I don’t have the right passport for that,” he said, sparking laughter from those present.
“At the moment I am happy with my job and I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t. I can assure you that this team will be very well prepared for the World Cup. Everyone’s taking about the England game and how much we want to beat England and if we can beat England. Of course the England game is big because they have a rich history and they have good players but we have a two more matches to play as well and we intend to go there and play our best football,” Beenhakker said.
“Tuesday’s game is an important one and we will play it with the same intentions and expectations of our other games. Yes the majority of the team for the World Cup is here but also we have some players who deserve a chance to show what they can do and at the same time we must also protect and credit those who played a part in us getting to the World Cup.”
Yorke, having said earlier on the trip that he is considering options to return to play in England before the World Cup, said he was in fact in training with the Manchester United as an invitee over the Christmas break and he also has the option to do so again with the Old Trafford club before the World Cup but it does not include actual playing.
“There are some offers which we have to consider closely. I have played in England for 18 years which is practically half of my life so of course it would be good to come back here and play again and get myself prepared for the World Cup. At the same time I also have one year on my contract with Sydney FC but we are looking at all the options. I have spoken to the other England players about that game and everyone is excited about it especially when I was at Manchester for the training over the holidays. It’s an exciting time for all of us but at the same time we also have our job cut out before the World Cup and that’s one of the reasons we are here for this game against Iceland.
“To be fair, I really don’t know much about the Iceland team but I am aware that they have some quality players and we feel they will give us the kind of test we are looking for at this time,” said the skipper.
Beenhakker is scheduled to conduct a final session at the Loftus Road Stadium at 7pm and the team will spend Tuesday, mentally getting ready for its first international match appearance since the 1-0 win over Bahrain. The Iceland team also trained at one of the adjacent fields at the QPR training venue.
T&T Midfielder Aurtis Whitley came in on Monday morning following a delayed arrival and immediately joined the team’s session along with Fulham goalie Anthony Warner who joined the team for the first time on the greens. The rest of the squad remained intact with experience Falkirk midfielder Russell Latapy, inform Coventry City striker Stern John and Southampton’s Kenwyne Jones also looking fiery ahead of Tuesday’s contest. The defensive duo of Dennis Lawrence and Marvin Andrews have been in the mix as well with newcomers Nigel Henry and Anthony Noreiga while the experienced Cyd Gray and Avery John presents Beenhakker with quite a few options in defense. Midfielder Silvio Spann and Luton Town’s Carlos Edwards along with new invitees Ricky Shakes and Kevon Neaves all looked sharp in the morning session scrimmage while Dundee striker Collin Samuel has also been working hard as he pressed for selection. With Warner in the squad, Beenhakker may also give him some playing time but West Ham’s Shaka Hislop and Coventry’s Clayton Ince are also vying for those gloves.