The trinidad Guardian / The shame and embarrassment when I saw photos of the river that was flowing through the running track when the USA team went to practice at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva before the World Cup qualifier against T&T soon turned to ecstasy on Tuesday night as the USA were dealt a significantly crushing defeat by the Soca Warriors.
After that, the only river that flowed was from the tears of the USA team as they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Before we go into the superb performance of the T&T team, I sincerely hope that the Ministry of Sport and the chairman of the Sports Company launch a thorough investigation into the state of that running track that bears the name of one of our best athletes.
Yes, I agree the Americans played on it but to simply dismiss it in the arrogant way that an official of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) did, is as ridiculous as they behaved.
How did they do it? Firstly, the support was woeful. Someone said to me he thought the Americans had more support. Be that as it may, these boys showed heart, spirit, tenacity and real attitude that finally brought a smile to Dennis Lawrence’s face. I have said it before, and will continue to say that in Stephen Hart and now Dennis Lawrence, we have had two excellent coaches.
Dennis’ philosophy is simple – work hard, be disciplined, have a good attitude and show some pride when representing the red, white and black; believe me the 11 players and the three substitutes all showed those qualities and more.
You could have seen it coming. They played well in Costa Rica, looked good for 78 minutes against Mexico, but faulted badly against Honduras and Panama. However for the first time the team fought with grit and determination for 95 minutes. Lawrence did point out it was the first time he got a full solid performance from his team.
The burning question remains – now that the World Cup dream is over where do we go from here? The coach says he needs to continue working with these boys and he wants to get many international friendlies as his dream is to make T&T the No 1 team in the Caribbean. However, he needs support.
We as a people tend to bask in the euphoria of victory (especially against the USA) and two weeks down the road revert to the past. Dennis – my advice to you is break down whosoever door you need to. You need to carry on this momentum and do not, I repeat do not, let anyone stand in your way of achieving your goals.
You have won over the support of the nation and trust me, if the team continues to play good football, the crowds will return. You do need some marketing support and I really hope you get it. Good luck Dennis and to you and the players, thank you for the memory of Tuesday October 10, 2017 which will go down as the day the often forgotten little twin island Caribbean nation of 1.3 million people prevented the USA of 323.1 million from qualifying for football’s biggest tournament.
Revenge can strike a devastating blow as I am sure many of you were in the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain on November 19, 1989.
On another positive note let’s all journey in our thousands down to the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair on Saturday from 7.30 pm to see the Red Force united again to oppose a Caribbean Select XI in a charity game for our Caribbean neighbours who were so badly affected by two of the worst hurricanes in recent history.
To hear Dominican West Indies selector Lockhart Sebastien describe the devastation was heart-wrenching. The hurricane relief Twenty20 (T20) game should be full of excitement with all the top stars back together again. Pollard, the Bravo brothers Dwayne and Darren, Sunil Narine, Kevon Cooper, Samuel Badree and the latest batting sensation Evin Lewis to name a few, taking on the best of the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, Chris Gayle is recuperating from injury and can’t play but it should be a cracker of a game and even though it’s for a great cause, the Red Force don’t like to lose when they are playing at home in a T20 game.
Let’s get there in our numbers and support the Red Force but equally as important, support the Hurricane relief effort.