T&T's Soca Warriors arrived in Bermuda in humid conditions shortly after midday yesterday and underwent a light work out on the compound of the Grotto Bay Hotel where they will be based for the rest of the week prior to Friday's qualifier against the hosts. Coach Otto Pfister, already missing the services of captain Kenwyne Jones and Darryl Roberts as well as Anthony Wolfe due to injury, was forced to add T&TEC player Andrei Pacheco to the traveling squad after receiving the news that LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall suffered a hamstring strain and has been ruled out of Friday's encounter. Birchall will remain with Galaxy to undergo treatment and is hopeful of making a return to the T&T squad for the October 11 qualifier against Barbados at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
T&T is also missing the services of Ipswich Town's Carlos Edwards. Assistant coach Anton Corneal said the next few days would prove crucial to T&T's readiness for Friday's match which kicks off at 8pm (7pm) at the National Sports Centre. Belgium-based midfielder Khaleem Hyland and Columbus Crew defender Julius James are both expected to arrive today following matches yesterday with their respective teams. Lester Peltier and Radanfah Abu Bakr, as well as Osei Telesford are also expected to arrive today. "We are faced with a situation where a couple of our regular starters are ruled out but it's not a panic situation," Corneal said.
"We believe that the current players in the squad are capable of responding well to the challenge.
"Bermuda have never been an easy team and they are home where they are faced with a must win situation so we expect they will come at us with everything. But once we prepare well and we play to plan, the rest will take care of itself," Corneal added. The T&T team was greeted at the LF Wade International Airport by a group of Trinbagonians living in Bermuda with T&T flags waving to the rhythmic sounds of iron. The team was also met by All Sport Promotions representative Bruce Aanensen who arrived on the island a couple days in advance to ensure all arrangements were in place. Aanensen was the manager of the 2006 World Cup squad.
Meantime, Bermuda will be without English-based player Reggie Lambe as he is serving a one-match suspension after picking up two bookings during last month's qualifiers against the "Soca Warriors" and Guyana.
Despite Lambe's absence, Bermuda coach Devarr Boyles should still have a strong squad at his disposal with overseas trio Khano Smith, Freddy Hall and Nahki Wells of Bradford City all available. "Although availability has been suggested by everyone there's still a process you have to go through. I've been speaking to some of the guys overseas and Khano Smith, Freddy Hall, Quadir Maynard, Tahj Bell and Nahki Wells are all confirmed," said Boyles. In relation to Hurricane Ophelia which passed east of Bermuda on Saturday, there were no major concerns but there is also tropical storm Philippe located well South East of Bermuda (up to Sunday afternoon) that is forecast to remain a tropical storm .This system is forecast to turn west for a few days and several models have this system south of Bermuda beginning to turn back towards the north by mid week and is not expected the staging of Friday's match.
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (Joe Public), Jan-Michael Williams (W Connection). Defenders: Seon Power (North East Stars), Mekeil Williams (W Connection), Akeem Adams (T&TEC), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Olympic Chaleroi), Osei Telesford (P/Rico Islanders), Julius James (Columbus Crew). Midfielders: Kevaughn Connell (North East Stars), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Clyde Leon (Itagui Ditaires), Kendall Jagdeosingh (Rochester Rhinos),
Andrei Pacheco (T&TEC), Khaleem Hyland (Racing Genk), Lester Peltier (AS Trencin), Hayden Tinto (Joe Public), Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union). Forwards: Kevin Molino (Orlando City), Stern John (North East Stars), Devorn Jorsling (Orlando City).