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Russell Latapy vs Jason Scotland in training at the Larry Gomez Stadium yesterday. (Photo - T&T Newsday)


Suspended midfielder Christopher Birchall and defender Keyeno Thomas both expressed confidence that the T&T squad selected will be able to do the job against Honduras in Saturday’s 2010 Concacaf World Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 7 pm. Both players were speaking after the T&T team’s 90-minute training session at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, yesterday.

Birchall, who will miss the match due to yellow card accumulations, is expected to return for the match in USA four days later. “The absence of Yorke, Clayton Ince (also suspended) and myself is definitely a blow to the team, but at the same time we are confident that there is enough talent in the team to compensate out loss,” he said. “I did not think I deserved that yellow card against El Salvador, but it happened and now the other guys just have to step in and produce.” Thomas, who is nursing a slight groin strain, added: “We are all looking forward to the matches against Honduras and USA as they are both important to us at this stage of the campaign.

“We know that we have to take it match by match and with the guys gathered we all have faith in each other and are ready to go out there and do what is required to get the best result.” The only players missing from yesterday’s session was midfielder Khaleem Hyland of Belgium’s Zulte Waregem, who arrived on Monday night. Yorke, who is awaiting the appeal decision on a Fifa four-match ban, also did not train. Sunderland FC team-mates Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones had their first session with the team, after they also arrived on Monday, and both players looked very sharp during coach Maturana’s half-field drills.

The other players involved in yesterday’s session were Dennis Lawrence (Crewe Alexandra), Stern John (Bristol City), Jan-Michael Williams (Ferencvarosi TC), Clayton Ince (Walsall), Marvin Phillip, Glenroy Samuel, Anthony Wolfe, Makan Hislop, Aklie Edwards, Trent Noel, Densill Theobold, Clyde Leon, Keon Daniel, assistant coach/player Russell Latapy, Ataullah Guerra and Andrei Pacheco. The trio of Phillip, Leon and Daniel trained separately from the rest of the squad for most of the morning as they are recovering from slight injuries. The national Under-20 quartet of captain Leston Paul, Sean De Silva, Robert Primus and Sheldon Bateau, who earlier this month helped T&T to qualify for the 2009 Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, were also part of the session.

....Warriors train at HC Stadium today

T&T Soca Warriors will train at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, in a closed door session today from 9.30 am ahead of Saturday’s 2010 Concacaf World Cup qualifier versus Honduras at the same venue, from 4 pm. This, after the venue was given the all clear by the trio of T&T coach, Francisco Maturana, assistant coach/player Russell Latapy and assistant manager Peter Rampersad following an inspection yesterday. There was some concern that the HC Stadium playing field would not have been available to the T&T team ahead of the Honduras match, after it was badly damaged during the Carnival season due to the staging of two of the biggest events, the International Soca Monarch and Machel Montano’s AC7 concerts in February.

At the end of the Carnival season, T&T Football Federation special advisor Jack Warner voiced his concerns about the readiness of the venue for the Honduras match to Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Gary Hunt, who assured him that the field would be ready in time for Saturday. Last week, Warner stated that he was so impressed with the remedial work done so far, and he considered it the eighth wonder of the world. His only worry though, was that the Soca Warriors would not get the chance to train at the venue before playing the qualifier. But following yesterday’s inspection, Maturana and Latapy gave their thumbs up on the playing surface and were looking forward to the team’s session at the venue. Latapy was also optimistic about his match fitness ahead of the matches against Honduras and away to USA, four days later.

WARRIORS SQUAD

Jan-Michael Williams, Marvin Phillip, Glenroy Samuel, Anthony Wolfe, Keyeno Thomas, Dennis Lawrence, Makan Hislop, Aklie Edwards, Trent Noel, Densill Theobold, Clyde Leon, Carlos Edwards, Keon Daniel, Russell Latapy, Khaleem Hyland, Jason Scotland, Stern John, Ataullah Guerra, Kenwyne Jones, Andrei Pacheco.