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Captain Jones: New day for T&T
T&T Soca Warriors begin their journey for a spot at the 2014 Brazil Fifa World Cup Finals when they host minnows, Bermuda in their Concacaf second round Group B qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 4 pm today. Led by Stoke City’s Kenwyne Jones, T&T will start the match as firm favourites, despite playing just one international match since last November, a 3–0 win over little fancied India, earlier this month. Apart from meeting at the same stage of the previous World Cup campaign, the 88th ranked T&T and Bermuda have met 11 times, with the Soca Warriors holding the edge, five wins to three losses and two drawn results, and Jones and company will be eager to add to its number of wins. However, Jones and his team-mates will be wise not to take the world 185th ranked Bermudans, nicknamed the “Gombey Warriors”, lightly as they showed in the past they are capable of causing an upset.
During T&T’s failed 2010 South Africa World Cup qualifying campaign, Bermuda, after struggling to see off the Cayman Islands in round one of qualifying, took on T&T and won the first-leg 2–1, led by two goals from John Barry Nusum, before Stern John and Darryl Roberts netted in the away leg for T&T to come away with a 3–2 aggregate triumph and avoid the upset. The 34-year-old John and 27-year-old Roberts who both scored in the win over India are likely to compete for a starting role alongside Jones and the Soca Warriors captain was anxiously looking ahead to the match. The 26-year-old Jones, who has enjoyed a great start to the season for his Premiership club said: “I am looking forward to it (being captain). It’s a new day for myself. It’s a new day for the country, and again it’s a new round of qualification. “So hopefully with the experience that I have, and that of the other players, we can come together and impose it on the rest of the teams, and lead the country to greatness.”
Jones described his lead role as a proud moment. “It’s something a player dreams of and I am happy.”
He said during the past week the team was preparing. “Today was the last day and things are looking good. Hopefully tomorrow (today) when we come out ,we could impose ourselves and go forward and win the game.” While Bermuda may not be considered a force, Jones was not taking them for granted. “Irregardless of the opposition, it is a big occasion seeing that it is a first step in the World Cup qualification. The country wants us to do well, so of course there will be a bit of nervousness. I think from the time the whistle blows, everyone should be able to get into their stride.” Jones also spoke of his lack of goals for T&T which has seen him only net on four occasions from 45 appearances. “I think the last campaign I was the only person to blame. You know that’s the past. That’s a part of football life. We are hoping to do better and get the job done. My job is to go out there and lead the team and score goals and try to lead the country to the World Cup.”
With regards to the composition of the team, Jones said it has a good mix. “We are in a stage where we are planning for the future, not just 2014, but the future of T&T. So, hopefully, with what we have going on now, we could press forward and do great things.”
Bermuda coach optimistic
Devarr Boyles, coach of the Bermuda squad was very optimistic his team can cause another upset against T&T. The Bermudans, who arrived in T&T from Fort Lauderdale, USA where they held a live-in camp, also trained at the match venue yesterday.“We are very optimistic. We know there are going to be challenges but we’re putting a team on the field that we know can cope, and with coping we’ll see where that takes us,” said Boyles. However the visitors will have to deal with the absence of striker John Barry Nusum, who scored both goals in the win versus T&T in the previous campaign due to work commitments but speedy former MLS standout winger Khano Smith, Nahki Wells and Freddy Hall are in the team.
Tickets for the match are on sale at all Kenny’s Sports Outlets and All Sport Promotions, Long Circular Road, St James. Tickets are priced at $200 (covered) and $100 (uncovered). Children under ten will be allowed free admission.
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