Saturday 31st December, 2005


Dwight is T&T’s ‘Footballer of Year’

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National football team captain Dwight Yorke has been adjudged the T&T Football Federation’s male “Footballer of the Year” (2005 ) and so will be in the line-up for the First Citizens’ Bank “Sportsman of the Year” title, at a ceremony next March.

The TTFF made the disclosure yesterday.

Yorke, 34, arrived in Australia on Thursday from spending Christmas in England and was in good spirits, following the holiday break given members of Sydney FC following their appearance at the FIFA World Club Championship in Japan.

The former Manchester United star celebrated his biggest achievement on November 16, when T&T defeated Bahrain 1-0 to secure a berth in next year’s World Cup.

Yorke returned to the T&T team in February, after an absence of nearly four years, in a final round qualifier against the United States at the Queen’s Park Oval.

He went on to play every minute of the following eleven World Cup qualifying matches for the Soca Warriors and capped his phenomenal comeback with a corner from the left side which resulted in Dennis Lawrence’s headed goal that won T&T’s play-off against Bahrain.

Yorke has also performed with credit for Australian club Sydney FC so far this season, finishing the year with a penalty strike in Sydney’s 2-2 draw with New Zealand Knights on Friday.

He wept when the final whistle blew in Bahrain and described the achievement as a “lifelong dream come true.” He said at the time”

“It definitely has to be the biggest achievement for me... to finish it off this way by qualifying for the World Cup which, aside from all my other success, has been my dream as a young kid, is fantastic.”

TTFF president, Oliver Camps, manager of the 1989 squad of which Yorke was a member, added:

“Dwight truly deserved everything given to him this year and all that he has achieved and we felt it was fitting to name him the best player for 2005.

“There were several others who performed creditably, like Stern John and others and if it were up to me I would name the entire National team as players and sportsmen of the year for 2005.”

TTFF Special Advisor Jack Warner couldn’t hold back his words of admiration for the Tobago-born Yorke.

“He was a wonderful leader and player for us this year and this is a man who a lot of people wrote off and to see how he was transformed into the kind of individual, as he remains today a brilliant example for all of us to follow.

“He left us in 2001 and many of us felt it was unfitting and unfair, but he came back and he did it in style and with honour and that alone is admirable and fitting of this honour,” Warner told TTFF Media as he engaged in a end- of- year gathering with CONCACAF and TTFF staff at his offices yesterday.

Chris Birchall said he was delighted for Yorke.

“I’m not surprised he’s been named the player of the year because he deserves all that he gets now. He’s been a massive influence on me and made me feel welcome when I came and spoke to me personally before all the games.

“He gave me the confidence to go out and play and was always talking and helping me on the pitch.

“I think myself and Aurtis (Whitley have learnt a lot off Dwight and that has done us all well in the middle of midfield.

“I’m happy we got to Germany, especially for Dwight, because now he can say he has achieved all his ambitions as a player,” Birchall said.

The TTFF’s female “Player of the Year” will be announced shortly.

Some of Dwight’s achievements:

Top-scorer for Blackburn Rovers in 2002/2003

First non-English player to score 100 goals (in a 3-0 win at Derby County) in the Premiership in 2000/2001

English Premier League winner’s medal with Manchester United in 2000/2001

English Premier League winner’s medal with Manchester United in 1999/2000

Top-scorer for Manchester United in 1999/2000 10th place in FIFA’s World Player of the Year ranking in 1999

English Premier League Golden Boot Award (18 goals) in 1998/1999

Runner-up, PFA “Player of the Year” in 1998/1999

Voted to the PFA “Team of the Year” in 1998/1999

Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee “Sports Personality of the Year” in 1998

Aston Villa’s “Player of the Year” in 1996/1997

Top-scorer for Aston Villa in 1996/1997

English Premier League winner’s medal with Manchester United in 1998/1999

English FA Cup winner’s medal with Manchester United in 1998/1999

European Cup winner’s medal with Manchester United in 1998/1999

Carling “Player of the Year” in 1998/1999

Carling “Player of the Month” (for February) with Aston Villa in 1996

Top-scorer for Aston Villa in 1995/1996

Intercontinental Cup winner’s medal with Manchester United in 1999

Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal Gold (for Sport) in 1999

League Cup winner’s medal with Aston Villa in 1995/1996

Aston Villa’s “Player of the Year” in 1995/1996

Top-scorer for Aston Villa in 1994/1995

Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal Silver (for Sport) in 1993

Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary’s Award in 2005

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