Mon, Jul

Everybody wants to make another World Cup.

Today the Arena starts a new series, de bMobile Bench which will be carried exclusively every Wednesday.
De Bench brought to you by bMobile and hosted by Jason Williams, is an ongoing series where players (local and international), coaches and other stakeholders in football are interviewed at different footballing locations throughout T&T.

Kerry Noray and Shane Calderon of Joe Public kicks off the series.

Calderon said that he recognised he had a passion for the game at a very young age.

“I grew up in Germany and at age nine I started to play. From small, I realised that it was all I wanted to do.

Calderon came to Trinidad at age 11 and received his secondary school education at St Augustine Senior Comprehensive.

During his days at “Gustine”, he experienced playing on the championship side.

“My proudest moment for St Augustine was winning the Big Five in 2004,” Calderon pointed out.

Unlike Calderon, the fleet-footed Noray didn’t play school football, despite attending El Dorado Senior Comprehensive.

“As a schoolboy I went to El Dorado. On the first day of training the coach dropped me and I never went back,” revealed Noray.

“Everybody who saw me play kept telling me how good I was,” he added. “ Because they kept complimenting me, I joined Jabloteh.”

Speaking of the toll football takes on the body, Calderon said: “You need plenty rest and keep a high level of fitness. You must keep healthy.

Noray added: “I would say that you must make a big sacrifice.”

When questioned on the diet of a footballer, Calderon jokingly stated: “Stay away from KFC. It’s not healthy.”

He also said that there are principles and guidelines to follow when choosing football as a career.

Noray endorsed the statement by adding that hard work and discipline is a must if a player is to reach far in the game.

Both players agreed that for young players to achieve their goal they must be encouraged.

Noray noted that by T&T making the World Cup, young players will want to do likewise.

Soca Warriors player Aurtis Whitley is also featured on De Bench.

Whitley came on as a substitute in the first World Cup match in Germany against Sweden and didn’t look back thereafter.

“When you get a chance you must take it,” said midfielder Whitley. “ At the end of the day it could be your last chance. When you do get it, make good use of it.”

Whitley, who went on to skipper the Soca Warriors, highlighted that fitness plays a major role in a player’s life. “You need to make the sacrifice and work hard and train. I play basketball as well and that helps to keep me fit.”

In sharing his experience as T&T captain, Whitley said: “There is a lot of weight on your shoulders. There is a lot of strain on you, especially with more experienced players like Yorke (Dwight) and Latapy (Russell) on the team.

“At the end of the day, it is all about getting results. For me, I still have to do my normal midfield work. Everybody on the field has a job to do and as captain, it is about coming out and doing your job.”

Whitley said that while he was out of the national team for a couple of matches due to injury, he has been watching the players. “Everybody wants to make another World Cup.”

Asked to explain the feeling one experiences when playing for the national team, Whitley stated that he can’t really describe the feeling. “All I could say is that it’s a great feeling.”

He encouraged all young players - from those who are in the game just for a sweat and those representing their schools - to strive to have a good game all the time.

“I know that you can’t play good every match but you must try to play better when you had a bad game.”

The midfielder also noted that as a player you will be criticised when you play bad. “When you’re up everybody is there with you. But when you’re down, you stand all alone.”

Whitley said he plans to stay in the game after his playing days are over. “I will like to stay in football. I love the game and will like to give back something to the game when my playing days are over. I can’t say in what capacity but I will be staying in football.

His advice to young players is to “work hard and play every game as though it is your last”.