The Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago were keen to recapture the kind of form that saw them reach their first FIFA World Cup™ finals two years ago in Germany. However, their start to South Africa 2010 qualifying was anything but inspired. After losing their second round first leg 2-1 at home to Bermuda, they needed to pull off an edgy 2-0 win on the road to narrowly avoid early and ignominious elimination.
Although they are still considered the best team in the Caribbean, T&T are having trouble coping with the loss of talismanic former boss Leo Beenhakker.
Although Yorke, now 35 and considered the country's best-ever player, is still with the Soca Warriors, the islanders had to make do without Beenhakker, who left to coach Poland's national team. After a brief stint in charge for Don Leo's former assistant Wim Rijsbergen, the start of 2008 saw another change in the hot-seat. The powers that be at the T&T FA turned to former Colombia boss Francisco Maturana after disappointing performances at both the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2007 Caribbean Cup. His tenure only lasted three games into the final round of South Africa 2010 qualifying, when he resigned and Russell Latapy stepped in as interim boss.
When all players are available, Trinidad and Tobago can be a fearsome unit. A brief glimpse at some of their Britain-based stars attests to this. Stern John of Southampton is the country's all-time top scorer and finished only two strikes behind Mexico's Jared Borgetti in the race for CONCACAF's top marksman honour in the qualifiers for Germany.
Also, Kenwyne Jones is making waves and scoring goals for Sunderland over in the Premier League. Gary Glasgow, Densil Theobald, Avery John and Carlos Edwards and Marvin Andrews also help to make the Soca Warriors a force. However, a poor string of results in their final 'hexagonal' round of qualifying saw the side's hopes dashed as they went out of the reckoning for South Africa with two qualifiers to go.