Former Brazilian World Cup captain Cafu believes that there will be benefits to be seen in years to come from the establishment of a National Training Centre in Trinidad and Tobago.
Cafu, the captain of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning squad, spent half day in Trinidad on Monday after arriving in the afternoon period to appear at an exhibition game at Sogren Trace Recreation Ground, Laventille as part of the Laventille Nights programme put on by I95.5FM. Cafu’s appearance was arranged by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association in a collaborated efforts with the FIFA Legends initiative.
Also here on Monday were Jamaicans Gregory Messam and Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner as they teamed up with the likes of former T&T 2006 World Cup players Dennis Lawrence and Stern John, current T&T midfielder Hashim Arcia, Earl Jean, Ross Russell and Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) George Busby. Lawrence and John netted but the boys of Laventille were triumphant on the night, coming away 6-2 winners in the 90-minute affair.
Speaking afterwards, Cafu touched on the matter of the current plans by the TTFA to begin construction of the Home of Football Training And Technical Centre at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
“It’s a great thing to have a national training centre. Every country needs something like this if you can get it. When I look around here (Laventille) it reminds me so much about where I came from in Brazil, the people, the ground, the poverty and the difficult life but it inspired me and it can inspire these people,” Cafu told TTFA Media.
“And with the training centre you can take players from here and give them better facilities which allows them to develop, to get to the next level and to help you produce better teams, better clubs and this now helps you to build stronger national teams. You will see the benefit of this in the future,” Cafu added.
Speaking about the match, Cafu who looked as fit as ever, playing the match in its entirety, stated “It was a joy. It is always a joy to play the game and now to be in a place like Laventille here in Trinidad and Tobago makes me a happy person. You can see the players were very eager in the match. And the result doesn’t always matter. More important is to bring joy and to play the game of football.”
Cafu also wished Dennis Lawrence and the T&T senior team best of luck in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama on September 1st and 5th. “It’s always important to do well for the country and to try and qualify for the biggest tournaments like the World Cup. I wish Trinidad (and Tobago) well.”
The former AS Roma player mingled with the players and fans after the match, posing for photographs and signing autographs for those fortunate enough to get close to him at the venue.
The 47-year-old Cafu made 142 appearances for Brazil. He represented his nation in four FIFA World Cups between 1994 and 2006, and is the only player to have appeared in three consecutive World Cup finals, winning the 1994 and 2002 editions of the tournament, the latter as his team’s captain.
Cafu returned to Brazil at 5am on Tuesday. Also in attendance on Monday night was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Laventille West MP, Minister Fitzgerald Hinds along with TTFA President David John-Williams.