Thu, Aug


Bermuda's national soccer team are to play Trinidad in a friendly at the National Sports Centre a week tomorrow.

The fixture will be a major test for head coach Mark Trott, his assistant David Furbert and the players of a team only recently re-assembled after a long hiatus following the World Cup defeat at the hands of Antigua in April last year.

They will face one of the region's strongest sides, who will use the match to prepare for a World Cup qualifier against Jamaica just eight days later.

Unfortunately for local fans, Bermuda Football Association's announcement of the team's first home match for more than a year came the same day as Trinidad's best known player, Dwight Yorke, quit the squad.

The Manchester United striker walked out on the team yesterday as they prepared for tomorrow's vital World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

Yorke took the decision after losing his appeal against being banned by the Trinidad and Tobago federation (TTFF) from tomorrow's match for missing a warm-up friendly in Panama on Sunday.

Yorke's local agent Tim Nafziger said: "After practice I told Dwight what happened and he went up to (coach) Ian Porterfield and (manager) Neville Chance and shook their hands and thanked them for the time together. But he is not going to be at practice again, he has made up his mind that he will not play again, he thinks that in the circumstances this treatment is unfair," said Nafziger.

"It is clear that they (TTFF) are not going to back down from their position on the ban and that (TTFF president) Oliver Camps will not overrule (the technical staff)."

Yorke and fellow English-based player Anthony Rougier of Second Division Reading were both banned from the Honduras match for their no-show for the Panama friendly.

But the banned pair were asked to stay with the squad to prepare for further matches in the six-nation CONCACAF final World Cup qualifying group against the United States in Boston on June 20 and against Jamaica.

The Bermuda match came about after Trinidadian soccer officials approached the BFA to ask if they were interested in hosting a friendly as part of the `Soca Warriors' World Cup preparation.

The Trinidad team will arrive in Bermuda next Thursday, the day after their clash with the US.

BFA general secretary David Sabir yesterday described the match against the team who won the Copa Caribe and are ranked 35th in the world as "perhaps Bermuda's stiffest challenge in recent years".

Trinidad and Tobago are bottom of their World Cup qualifying group with just one point from three matches and badly need a win against Honduras to revive their hopes of finishing in the top three and qualifying for the 2002 finals in South Korea and Japan.