Sat, Aug

Curt Onalfo, chief scout for the United States National team, is tipping Trinidad and Tobago to pose problems for the rest of the teams in the final CONCACAF 2006 Hexagonal qualifying round.

Onalfo watched each of T&T’s matches leading up to the Ash Wednesday clash including the friendlies against Haiti but had to view the qualifier on video as he was on the road for Costa Rica’s encounter versus Mexico. But having seen sufficient action involving Bertille St Clair's team, Onalfo feels that the T&T can in fact fall in contention for one of the top three spots which will send them to Germany in 2006.

“I think Trinidad and Tobago gave us a strong challenge but I think we were prepared for it,” Onalfo told TTFF Media on the weekend. “We were never going to underestimate them because there is a history between both teams. We knew that fitness would play a part on the day and this was evident in the second half when your guys started to dominate. But all that was of importance for us was getting a result on the day and we were more than happy to get three points.”

Onalfo also said it was important for T&T to maintain its momentum coming out of the loss to the US as he sees the “Warriors” as potent opponents for the rest of the journey.

“I think the team will be fine and they could definitely be a tough one for the other teams in the group because they demonstrated that they are capable of being a tough side capable of winning matches and being tough to beat. It’s important that they move on from here and not slump. There are quite a few games left and they should have a lot to look forward to in the months to come,” Onalfo added.

In his pre-match scout report, Onalfo stated “Trinidad and Tobago has a much more experienced team than in the past. Dwight Yorke (No. 19) has rejoined the team after almost a four-year absence. He is not the same player that tore it up for Manchester United in the Premiership of years past, but he still has tremendous skill. His touch, vision and passing are still very good at the age of 34. Up front, T&T has several explosive options.

Stern John (No. 14), who you may remember from his Columbus Crew days, is probably their best forward. He is very good at holding the ball with his back to goal and is a proven goal scorer at every level. He is currently playing for Coventry City in England. Scott Sealy (No. 9), a recent signing of the Kansas City Wizards, is also another forward that we will need to watch closely. He is explosive over five yards, gets the ball off his feet quickly, makes good runs off the ball and is opportunistic around the goal. Furthermore, forward Cornell Glen (No. 13) has speed to burn, loves to take players one-on-one and has the ability to change the outcome of the game at any moment. Both of these experienced pros (referring to Brent Sancho and Marvin Andrews) make the T&T defense very solid and hard to break down.”

Since last Wednesday’s match, some have voiced concern over the result but several others have also expressed keen interest in the matches to come, citing that they expect the Warriors to pull off the desired results. Among them was special adviser Jack Warner.

“Immediately following the game, you would have been quite surprised to find that I was in good spirits, and not too disheartened by the result itself. Although it not what I was obviously expecting and wanting, the team displayed more fight during some parts of the game than I had seen in a long time and quite frankly, the result could have even been and should have been in our favour. I now look forward with anticipation to our other matches,” said Warner, who departed last Wednesday for Zurich, Switzerland.

T&T team meantime, continued training at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Monday and will depart on Friday for Barbados ahead of the opening Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals match with Jamaica on Sunday.