October 28, 2005
Trinidad and Tobago to face Bahrain

A battle of the minds is waging as Trinidad and Tobago prepares to face Bahrain in a crucial World Cup fixture. The showdown for a place in Germany 2006 intensifies at the Haseley Crawford in Port of Spain November 12.

Interest soared last week when it was revealed that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) would host the Bahrainans for one week, with them playing a warm up match against the ‘Reggae Boyz’ during that period. {{more}}

This drew sharp criticism from CONCACAF boss and special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, Austin ‘Jack’ Warner.

Warner referred to the development as a “Sad day for Caribbean football and Caribbean unity”.

Reports are that the JFF was in line to receive a tidy sum from the Bahrainians.

It was also disclosed that Guatemala had a similar offer but turned it down.

The presence of former Trinidad and Tobago captain David Nahkid in close ties with the Bahrainians raised eyebrows at home.

Nahkid was accused of procuring tapes of recent matches played by the Trinidadians, as tactical resource material for their opponents.

Nahkid, part of the Trinidad and Tobago technical staff for recent matches, subsequently revealed that Bahrain employed him as coach of one of their national teams.

But the mood in the twin-island republic is one of optimism.

The senior footballers have captured the attention of the nation away from the social problems that plagued them during the qualifying period.

Incentives for players, as well as financial support from the business community have been thrown in as boost for the Germany showpiece.

Trinidad and Tobago revived its chances of reaching the World Cup finals with back to back wins earlier this month.

First they eked out a 1-0 over Panama in Panama City October 8; four days later at home they humbled Mexico 2-1, to grab the fourth spot from the CONCACAF group.

This set up the play off with Bahrain.

The return match is set for November 16.

This is the third time that Trinidad and Tobago is in touching distance of a World Cup final berth.

In 1974,they were edged out by what many termed inept officiating. Fifteen years later, the USA stunned Trinidad and Tobago, with a 1-0 defeat, when the famed ‘Strike Squad’ was on course for Italy.