Sat, Apr


Former Trinidad defender Marlon Rojas Former Trinidad defender Marlon Rojas has warned Bermuda his ex-team-mates are hungry for revenge as they prepare for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifying showdown.

The Somerset Eagles coach believes Bermuda have little chance of pulling off another upset against a Trinidad team still smarting from their humbling home defeat in 2008.

And with the Soca Warriors determined to re-establish themselves as a Caribbean powerhouse, Rojas insists there will be no danger of them taking Bermuda too lightly this time around.

“I’ve had a chat to one of the guys and I know they are definitely eager to put that defeat against Bermuda into perspective,” said Rojas, who won 23 caps for Trinidad. “I’m still in touch with a lot of those guys via Facebook or BB; I contacted them recently to say I’m waiting for their return visit to Bermuda in October.

“Trinidad have been going through a bad patch for a few years and I know they are desperate to re-establish themselves as the top team in the Caribbean. I think this game is a good place for them to start.”

Trinidad have packed their squad with top overseas talent such as Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards and Chris Birchall, underscoring just how serious they are to avoid another embarrassing slip-up at home.

Conversely, Bermuda will be relying on a group of players with little or no World Cup qualifying experience, who Rojas reckons simply won’t be able to contend with his compatriots’ superior know-how.

“(Trinidad) are making a huge effort to make sure they use this game as a stepping stone as opposed to ‘you know, it’s an easy game’,” said Rojas, whose football résumé includes stints at MLS side Real Salt Lake and Trinidadian powerhouse Joe Public F.C.

“I’m definitely looking to see an improved Trinidad from the last couple of years, that’s for sure.”

Rojas was a regular starter for Trinidad during their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign but lost his contract at Real Salt Lake due to the number of matches he was missing while on international duty.

That, in turn, robbed him of a place in the Soca Warriors’ World Cup party which included his close friend Edwards, now at Ipswich, ex-Manchester United ace Dwight Yorke and former Premier League striker Stern John.

Such was the extent of Rojas’ disappointment, he decided to quit professional football soon after and moved to Bermuda with his wife Shimiqa to start a new life.

But, had he not chosen to call time on his pro career, the 31-year-old reckons he could have been among Trinidad’s star-studded line-up against Bermuda tomorrow.

“I’m still pretty young, you know; I think if I was still playing I’d be able to give a fight,” he said. “At the time of my disappointments I chose to fall back on my education and find a job. That’s the thing with professional football; you have to cope with a lot of disappointments.”

Rojas hasn’t completely written off Bermuda’s chances though, and has backed them to get the better of their other Group B rivals Guyana and Barbados.

“I definitely think Bermuda have plenty of talent. They have a number of players with professional experience and that certainly should give them the edge over some of the other Caribbean nations,” he said.