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|WARRIORS DEPART FOR BERMUDA|
|Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior footballers will depart for Hamilton Bermuda at 7am on Thursday for what is definitely a much earlier than expected crucial 2010 World Cup qualifier against that country on Sunday.
The squad, following a final training session on home soil on Wednesday evening, will regroup at Piarco along with the technical staff and head off to Bermuda via Miami. Team assistant manager Peter Rampersad already arrived in Hamilton on Tuesday to put the necessary arrangements in place in advance of the team’s arrival.
Click for Video of team training session
Head coach Francisco Maturana stated that he does not believe the team’s approach should go into panic mode but he prefers a more urgent approach as the team needs to ensure a win by two clear goals.
“It is important not to panic but yes we are facing a game which we need to finish the job away from home. We now find ourselves in a position where we have to go to Bermuda and play a game and get the result to take us through to the next round. Before last Sundays game maybe some people did not expect this to be the situation now but this is the reality and we have to just take care of it,” Maturana told TTFF Media.
The squad was announced with four changes. United Petrotrin striker Jerol Forbes comes into the 18 replacing Kareem Smith while Marvin Phillip replaces Clayton Ince, Michael Edwards for Ancil Farrier and Kevon Carter for Hayden Tinto. Smith will still travel as a 19th player.
Meantime, delighted Bermuda coach Kenny Thompson has told his Bermuda team they are on the verge of history.
Quietly spoken and always considered in his public comments, Thompson could not disguise his pride at the astonishing result Bermuda pulled off in Trinidad on Sunday.
Describing the 2-1 win as the best result of his coaching career, Thompson enthused:
"It was an unbelievable feeling, winning the first leg. It's definitely the highest achievement I've had as a coach.
"But this is a two leg affair, we are really, really motivated to advance to the next stage. We'll give it everything, but the job is not yet done."
Thompson, who was part of the Bermuda team in 1992 that beat Haiti and Antigua to qualify in the semi-final group stage, said he felt the current crop of players were ready to carve their names into the annals of Bermuda football folklore in the same fashion as Gary Darrell's famous team.
"In '92 we were the first Bermuda team ever to win a World Cup game. It was a great motivation for us to create history.
"We ran, we ran and we ran and we chased everything and we ended up with a history making performance. Now this team can make its own history and they are ready to do it as well.
Thompson, who has called Sammy DeGraff and Tyrell Burgess into the squad and will check on the fitness of John Barry Nusum before naming his final 18 for Sunday, said he was proud of every one of the players who had contributed to the win.
"The players were prepared to put everything on the line to get a good result. They threw their bodies in front of the ball when they needed to and gave it everything they had.
"In matches like this it's impossible to have any of your players not making a big effort - everybody deserves praise for the way they went about their task."
He said he was confident that the team could repeat that effort on Sunday in front of a partisan home crowd.
"We are in a good position. We stand a chance of advancing but there's a time and place for celebration and we'll be back to work tomorrow for another training session.
"We expect for Trinidad to be very aggressive and to try and turn it round. That's normal. "We expect retaliation on Sunday, with them having to come from behind. We are prepared for an onslaught but we are confident, without being arrogant, that we can withstand it. We stand a chance, but we are going to have to work extremely hard and withstand some pressure. We'll certainly do our part to make it a good football spectacle."
And double goalscorer Nusum has vowed to put his body on the line and play through the pain barrier.
Nusum will receive treatment 'around the clock' for the hamstring injury he picked up during Bermuda's astonishing 2-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago at the Marvin Lee Stadium last weekend.
The 26-year-old, who struck a double salvo, caused the Caribbean powerhouse all manner of problems with his physical presence and back-to-goal qualities and is desperate to start the deciding second leg at the National Sports Centre.
"I'll be playing against Trinidad, I can let you know that now. It won't even be an issue," declared Nusum, who was substituted late during the first leg.
"I've been icing my hamstring and using an electric stimulating machine on it and will be receiving treatment throughout the week. It feels a lot better than it did after the game."
Nusum is adamant the Gombey Warriors are in the 'driver's seat' after scoring two precious away goals and has backed them to fend off Trinidad's inevitable backlash.
"I think we will go into the game with the same attitude as the first leg and adopt a defensive mindset," he said.
"If we stick together and stick to our game plan, I think we can pull this off.
"We can hold them to one-goal and if they score two goals we know we're capable of scoring against them. I felt comfortable against their defenders and I think we spotted a few weaknesses that we can exploit.
"I believe we are in the drivers' seat because we have nothing to lose. They have to come to Bermuda and beat us. If we are going to do something special this is the time to do it."
Bermuda's triumphant squad touched down on the Island on Tuesday after being delayed overnight in New York and were greeted at the L.F Wade International Airport by Premier Ewart Brown and Sports Minister El James. (June 18, 2008)