Ataullah Guerra will be seeking to brave the conditions as he continues his journey as a professional footballer, out from the stream of the East Dry River in Laventille and into the cold of Rovaniemi, Finland.
The ‘Dry River’ has been known as the birthplace of legends and stories and Guerra surely has to be one of the fresh sporting talents coming from there to enter the European football stage with the ambitions of making some kind of mark in the sporting arena.
For at least the past six years, the highly skilful and talented midfielder has teased and tortured many opposing local players, finally settling into the national team that finished second at the 2012 Caribbean Cup.
With two goals in 20 appearances for T&T dating back to 2008, Guerra will aim to cement a spot in the team for the Concacaf Gold Cup in July. He hopes his six-month loan spell with Finnish Premier League club Rovaniemen Palloseura (ROPS) will turn him into a more complete player for the international stage.
“I’m back here at RoPS and I know this is an opportunity that I have to make the best of. I’ve heard stories of other really talented players from my country that came to Europe and couldn’t make it in the conditions. But this is my only chance now,” Guerra said on Tuesday.
“The conditions are not nice at all. It’s very cold and I have to do everything possible to keep my body warm and to adapt but I intend to work hard and see where it takes me,” Guerra added.
Guerra’s teammates include El Salvador national team defender Victor Turcios as well as Finnish international Tuomma Kononen and Nigerian trio Mbachu Emenike, Nduka Alison and Faith Obilor.
“The team is a good one and football is popular here like anywhere else in Europe. I am happy to be in a place where football is a big deal,” the 25-year-old Guerra said.
The Caledonia AIA player, formerly of San Juan Jabloteh, should be comfortable in the town of Rovaniemi. The city has a number of hotels and restaurants located both in the centre and on the outskirts.
However, because of its location on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi has a subarctic climate with short, mild summers and very cold and snowy winters with an average annual temperature of 0.9 °C, and snow stays on the grounds 175 days a year on average.
Guerra is certain to appreciate the summer conditions in Miami when he returns to join the T&T team for the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup.