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19
Mon, Feb

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So last Thursday night my cell phone rang and the voice on the other end of the call said “boy the kinda day you had, I thought I would call you, come leh we go to CIC fete nah.”

Now, those of you who know me well understand that I am a carnival baby, even though I was born on Boxing Day and love to celebrate Christmas with my family, as January 1st arrives I instantly get ready for carnival. I love all aspects of our culture Kaiso, Soca, Mas and all that goes with our carnival preparations, so there was not much convincing needed for me to attend CIC's fete, especially as it is turning out to be one of the better fetes on the carnival landscape.

Anyway, back to the cell phone conversation, I responded “what do you mean the kinda day I had?!” The person went on the state that the Red Force got bowled out for 135 on the 1st day vs Guyana and the Soca Princesses, after leading 2-0 lost 3 -2 vs Haiti. I had to remind him that it was not only me, but all true Trini sports fans who would have been feeling the pain on that unkind Thursday night.

Let's start with the cricket and to be honest, I was not surprised by the Red Force score. It is painfully obvious that the team has lost all confidence. It is also apparent that anyone who has any control of the team may as well go on a computer and play whatever games can be found, including fantasy cricket because their impact on improving the team is zero, actually it may even be considered negative. Thankfully, at least they tried something different and the batting order was changed up, however, the changes only worked to an extent, but when a team is low on confidence and batsmen are not scoring runs, you just have to hope things click and class rather than form shines through.

At the end of the game the Force were totally mauled by the Jaguars. So where do we go from here? Interestingly, I read where the head coach accepted the blame for the team finishing dead last in the standings and then, hopefully jokingly, compared our position to Guyana when they finished last and have now turned it around and won the four-day regional tournament four times in a row. Obviously, the Guyanese have put a proper structure in place with the correct personnel for the job both on and off the field. My disappointment with the statement of the coach is that he also blamed the senior players for the position we find ourselves in and of course, it is easy to put part of the blame on them, but my questions to him are how hard have they worked as a unit? Was the environment conducive to them giving optimum performance at all times during the season? Why was there so much changing of the team? Why did we play three wicketkeepers in the same starting eleven etc, etc? We were so bad in this tournament that a full examination needs to be done on the entire team, not only on their performance, but on their mental approach to the game. Additionally, what about the selectors who picked some ridiculous teams at times, they most certainly should also be held accountable and if the executive of the TTCB has any 'cojones', it will act expeditiously for the sake of the T&T cricket fans.

Then to compound matters, I had a look at our U-20 Soca princesses play Haiti and my oh my were we taken for a ride by those in authority before the tournament started. You see, given the magnitude of the tournament I thought we did our homework on the opposing teams, however, it was glaringly obvious that little was done. That aside, let's deal with our team, who we cannot blame as the players gave their all, but they looked unfit throughout the tournament which is a reflection of the coaching staff. It is a pity that the games were not 20 minutes long with 10 minute halves, as we would have easily qualified. Additionally, there seemed to be no structure to the team, the midfield was nonexistent and defensively we were all over the place. Even if we could not match our opponents in terms of skill, at least we could have put out a fit team as it is inexcusable in this modern era not to be able to run for a full 90 minutes.

Consequently, as the host nation, we finished last in the group not winning a game and as usual all the dotish excuses have started to filter through, but just like the TTCB, the TTFA has to take action as you owe it to the football fans of this nation to investigate what went wrong and give us an explanation as the sports loving public are fed up with all the excuses and the time for swift and decisive action is now, it is 2018 for heaven's sake, when are we going to get serious with sport in this country?!?