Tobago put up a good fight before going down 3-0 to Guadeloupe yesterday in a friendly match at Dwight Yorke stadium.
It was big occasion for the island, with the Dwight Yorke stadium seeing its first action in two years, while a spanking new, blue-coloured athletic track was laid down.
“In my time of playing, we never had this standard of game,”declared former Tobago United coach Peter Granville. “It’s good that we had this quality of game which has been given to us by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). It is the first time we are playing at this level.”
Tobago fielded several players with Pro League experience--Kerlon Ferguson (T&TEC), Omar Charles (Point Fortin Civic) and Gem Gordon (W Connection) among them.
Nothing separated Tobago from Guadeloupe in the first half, except for a horrendous bit of “butter fingers” by Tobago goalkeeper Joel Sampson, leading to Ludovic Piqueur’s only goal at the end of 45 minutes. Sampson got completely turned around, allowing a tame cross from Guadeloupe left-midfielder Piqueur into the goal on the half hour mark. But the visitors were sharp in the second half when scoring two further goals.
Among those present in Bacolet were Tobago Secretary for Sport Huey Cadette, Tobago Football Association (TFA) president, Raymond Alleyne and Raymond Tim Kee, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
“When I became president (TTFA), I pledged that Tobago must be included in all the international football,” Tim Kee said. “Apart from giving Tobago exposure, it helps our national team, and in addition to that, it has tourism opportunities.
On the field, Tobago deserved to at least be level at halftime, and with a little bit more composure, Kerlon Ferguson should have put them ahead in the 27 th minute. The former Pro League forward for T&TEC was put clear by a through ball, but hesitated momentarily, before failing to get around the Guadeloupe keeper Celigny.
Youthful Tobago coach Marlon Topping changed almost his entire team in the second session, including five players at the half. Tobago, therefore had less impact.
Guadeloupe, however, had greater cutting edge, although making seven changes themselves and there was no stopping Edwin Malpon when he ran in to clinically turn a low cross into the six-yard box to make the score 2-0, and first half scorer Piqueur flicked a through ball past the goal for a third Guadeloupe goal.
TOBAGO SQUAD: - 1.Joel Sampson (GK), 2.Simon Nedd, 3.Mensa Pollard, 4.Omar Charles, 5.Vernon Wilson, 7.Staffano Wright, 10.Kerron Phillips, 11.Arthur Moses, 12.Andel Brown, 16.Kern Harris, 17.Tyronne Manning, 19.Kerlon Ferguson, 20.Larry Potts.
SUBS: - 22.McKenzie Denoon (GK), 6.Nyron Orr, 8.Deon Thomas, 9.Anson Campbell, 13.Karlon Morris, 14.Gem Gordon, 15.Carmichael Sealy, 18.Akini Ferguson, 21.Devon Leacock.