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Vincy Heat to tackle Soca Warriors

Vincy Heat  to tackle Soca Warriors

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The date foremost on the minds of members of this county’s senior football team “Vincy Heat,” is Wednesday, November 17.

This is the day they meet Trinidad and Tobago in Port -of-Spain in a crucial encounter for both teams in Group C of the CONCACAF qualifiers to the 2006 World Cup.{{more}}

Vincy Heat needs to defeat the hosts by three clear goals to advance to the final stage.

This realistic chance was set up in St. Kitts last October 13, when “Vincy Heat” melted the “Sugar Boys” 3-0, to carry their points tally to six.

Trinidad and Tobago are on nine points.

According to the format of the qualifiers, the outcome of the head-to-head clash between Trinidad and Tobago and SVG will determine who follows Mexico.

The November 17 outing can be a case of deja vu, for the Trinidadians. It was almost to the day, fifteen years ago, when then “Strike squad”, destined for Italy, were derailed by the US 1-0.

The Vincentians will also remember that it was 25 years ago, that they made a statement on the regional scene, beating Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, to end second in the Caribbean Football Union final.

Next month’s encounter will be played off the field “chess game”, as both coaches have been in charge of each other’s camp.

Current head coach of Vincy Heat, Yugoslavian Zoran Vranes, had a stint with the Trinidad and Tobago, both as Coach and Technical Director from 1995 to1996.

During 1996, Vranes’ opposite number, Bertille St. Clair, was at the helm of the country’s technical staff at this same stage of World Cup qualifications.

The local players returned to practice following the St.Kitts match, in preparation for their next major assignment.

It is expected that all overseas-based players will be available. However, there’s uncertainty whether Oldham Athletics’ Rodney ‘Chang’ Jack will recover.

The 32-year-old Jack injured his right knee in SVG’s 0-1 loss to Mexico on October 10.

Jack will be out of action for four weeks.

The mood among the players is one of expectancy, determined to give it their best shot.

One player remarked, “We are going to give it our all.”

He noted that, “It will be a hard task but achievable.”

The local federation is making plans to drum up support for the team. It is expected that many Vincentians will journey to the twin-island republic, via charters arranged in conjunction with a regional airline.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines have never advanced beyond the semi-finals in their three previous sojourns.

This is the first time that they have recorded points, erasing the ignominy of ending at the bottom of their group in 1992, 1996 and 2000.

Apart from Mexico, the United States and Guatemala have booked their places to the final round of six. Three teams will advance to the final set for Germany in 2006.

The fourth place team from the CONCACAF Zone will engage in a play-off with the first place team in the Oceania Zone.

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