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Players to get police escort in Trinidad

Bermuda's national footballers need not fear for their well-being during this week's World Cup qualifier in Trinidad.

These were the comforting words uttered by Bermuda Football Association (BFA) president Larry Mussenden who said “all necessary precautions” have been taken to insulate national team footballers from ongoing violence in the Caribbean island in the lead up to Friday's crucial match with their hosts.

A state of emergency has been declared in so-called crime “hot-spots” in Trinidad where a number of people have been killed since violence first erupted earlier this month.

Drug gangs have been linked to the killings that were reportedly committed in retaliation to recent seizures of major consignments by police.

“T&TFF (Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation) general secretary (Richard Groden) and Concacaf general secretary (Chuck Blazer) had a round of discussions whereby they assured us that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago had assured the T&TFF that all necessary precautions would take place because of course this is a FIFA World Cup qualifier,” Mussenden said.

“They also explained to us that the state of the emergency, at that time, was a limited state of emergency that was confined to various crime hot spots and that appears to be the aim of that safety emergency to get on top of particular areas.

“We then asked about security issues as far as the hotel accommodations are concerned, as far as transport from the airport to the hotel and to and from the hotel and stadium and also whilst we are at the hotel and the general secretary (Groden) assured us that all those matters were being addressed.

“They have private security at the hotel, there will be a normal police escort for the transportation of the team from the hotel to the stadium and back. And so we have been given every assurance by the T&TFF about the procedures that will be put in place.”

To combat “wanton acts of lawlessness” police have been granted increased powers to conduct searches and make arrests while an overnight curfew remains in place in the troubled areas in Trinidad.

With the blessing of FIFA, world football's governing body, the kick off time for Bermuda's World Cup qualifier with Trinidad has been brought forward to allow spectators ample to time to attend the match and return home before the 9pm to 5am curfew is activated.

“The T&TFF general secretary consulted with FIFA who has agreed to change the time of the match in Trinidad and so it will be 4pm Trinidad time,” Mussenden said. “The reason is so that people can come to the match and then get home safely before the curfew in their country takes place.”

Bermuda's national football team is due to arrive in Trinidad tomorrow for final preparations ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier to be played at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

Following the match Bermuda's travelling entourage will spend an extra day in Trinidad to begin preparations for next Tuesday's World Cup qualifier with Guyana in Guyana.

Kamen Tucker (centre) stretches for the ball during a recent national team training session at BFA Field, while Lashun Dill (left) and Tyrell Burgess (right) look on. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Jones to skipper T&T

Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones has been handed the captain's armband for Trinidad's opening World Cup qualifier against Bermuda.

Jones, 26, was scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain yesterday where he will join up with the rest of the Soca Warriors squad in preparation for Friday's match at the Hansley Crawford Stadium.

The former Sunderland man, who played in City's 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion over the weekend, said he was honoured to be entrusted with the skipper's duties by coach Otto Pfister.

“It's a challenge I'm looking forward to. We know what is ahead of us and what we need to accomplish on our way to the World Cup. No qualifying campaign is easy and in saying that I don't expect any match to be easy. But we will maintain a level of focus that can see us advance in the tournament,” said Jones, who missed Trinidad's 2008 qualifiers against Bermuda through injury.

Trinidad's squad also includes ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Tony Warner, Kettering midfielder Jake Thomson, Ipswich winger Carlos Edwards and LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Burchall.

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Published August 30, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated August 30, 2011 at 9:58 am)

Players to get police escort in Trinidad

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