Shaka's World Cup Dreams

AFTER qualifying for the World Cup Finals for the first time in their history, life could hardly get any better for the players of Trinidad & Tobago.

But now they have earned a glamour draw against England in Group B for the Finals in Germany this summer.

For many of the British based players in the squad it's a dream draw, and as Hammers Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop explains, the squad are hoping they still have one or two upsets in the bag for Germany.

"It's a fantastic draw," smiled Shaka, "and it's got everyone in the squad excited. There are 12 or 13 who ply their trades in either England or Scotland and we're all certainly looking forward to it.

"The reaction back home has been fantastic. We always knew that we were going to be in Pot Four facing the prospect of some very difficult games.

"Rightly so England are one of the favourites to win the tournament, and we rightly so again, are staring down the barrell of a gun so to speak.

"We're one of the unfancied teams in the tournament, but I feel that we have the players who can cause somebody a surprise.

"Who it will be I don't know, but I'm sure we can cause one upset. Whether we can cause three surprises though only time will tell!"

For Shaka, who has served English football with such distinction, the World Cup Finals will be one of the biggest moments of his career.

"There is no bigger stage in world football," he agreed, "and for a country the size of ours with just one and a half million people it's a fantastic achievement just to get there.

"But I still think we've got a little bit up our sleeve and someone will get a bit of a surprise.

"At least a few of us will know the England lads so that might give us a bit of an advantage. But it will still be a very tough game for us against them, because they are a quality side."

Rumours have been flying recently that Shaka's Hammers team-mate Bobby Zamora could be eligable to play for Trinidad & Tobago in the Finals. And Shaka admits his team-mate would be a great addition to the squad.

"We'll have to see," admitted Shaka. "There was some talk of Bobby and also J Lloyd Samuel of Aston Villa, but whether it comes through in time for this summer we don't know.

"Right now we're just concentrating on the squad we've got and looking at ways we can improve it and prepare ourselves for the challenge this summer.

"Of course if Bobby and J Lloyd qualify they would both be quality additions to the squad.

"Bobby's credentials speak for themselves. We were all together before the Blackburn game on Friday when the draw was made so we had a chat about it.

"It should be a great incentive for Bobby for us to be playing against England, that's for sure.

"But it's a great incentive for everyone and it's a game that will capture the imagination of everyone in our country."