Bermuda’s National footballers had their first training session at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Friday evening and have labeled Sunday’s 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago as the game of their lives."People all over the world will be taking an interest in this game considering Trinidad competed at the last World Cup in Germany.
After arriving at Piarco on Thursday night, the team settled in at the Hilton Hotel and start winger Khano Smith hailed the match as potentially the most consequential of his international career.
“If we can beat Trinidad the world of football would sit up and take notice of us – that has to be our motivation," Smith said to reporters in Bermuda.
"I'm viewing this match as the biggest game in Bermuda's history. If we can progress past Trinidad, a whole new avenue opens up for us and we will get the opportunity to face other big footballing nations such as USA, Jamaica and Cuba."
Kenny Thompson's hopefuls arrived in the Caribbean on the crest of wave yesterday following back-to-wins over Barbados at the National Sports Centre, and Smith believes the team's preparations could not have gone any better.
"There's definitely been a lot momentum building up going into the Trinidad game and we couldn't have had better preparations following our two wins over Barbados. The squad is in good spirits and we're definitely going down there looking to get a good result.
"Winning breeds optimism and we're on a pretty good run at the moment.
"I think our victory over Colorado Rapids a few months ago was a real turning point for us and I can't remember the last time we lost."
Thompson's defensive-looking squad suggests Bermuda will adopt a cautious approach to the first leg with even a narrow defeat representing an encouraging outcome. And Smith concedes mistakes will have to be at a premium if they have any chance of coming away with a positive result.
"I wouldn't say we're going down to the Caribbean looking to be overly cautious but we know we can't afford to make mistakes because a team with the quality of Trinidad will punish you," he said.
"We have to concentrate on what we need to do, but obviously they will have a lot of good players who we will have to pay close attention to.
"They have Premier League players but if we eliminate our errors and stick to our game plan we should come out of the game with something.
"It's going to be a red-hot atmosphere down there but I've played in a lot of pressure matches before so hopefully I'll be able to calm a few of the other boys down.
"If we can get a good result in Trinidad I know our supporters will flock to the National Sports Centre and create the same sort of atmosphere we had against El Salvador four years ago."
On the other end, Swansea City striker Jason Scotland is raring to go for the “Soca Warriors” in Sunday’s opening 2010 World Cup qualifier against Bermuda at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Scotland, topscorer for the English Championship Division club in the League One last season, went through his paces with the rest of the team in a Thursday evening training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Both he and Stern John spent some time after the session working on their finishing on the northern goal.
Scotland, the selected speaker to the media afterwards, expressed optimism ahead of the contest.
“Definitely we are going to try and win the game outright but no game is an easy one in World Cup qualifying and Bermuda I think will be trying to make things as hard as they can for us.
“Me personally I thought I did okay in the Jamaica game especially as I was coming off a three-week break and hadn’t been in much training. I’ve had about six sessions with the team so far but I’m feeling good.”
Sunderland winger Carlos Edwards is also anticipating the qualifier which will be his first competitive outing for the team since the 2-0 loss to Paraguay at the 2006 World Cup Finals.
“Any World Cup match is always a big game regardless of the opponent. Our main ambition is to get the World Cup again but before that we have to take care of teams like Bermuda and it all starts on Sunday. When we played against Dominican Republic in our first game for the last campaign we had to work really hard for a 2-0 win and I also got injured in that match. Hopefully this time luck will not be against me and the team as well can secure a more comfortable victory. We have to stamp our authority from early and let Bermuda know exactly what time it is,” Edwards added.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 5:30 pm at the Marvin Lee Stadium. (June 13, 2008)