Trinidad and Tobago football fans anticipated a dramatic, hard-fought contest laced with patriotic fervour as the national team moved within three weeks of a possible place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament in Germany.
They got more than they bargained for, although the first ball is yet to be kicked.
The local media remains gripped by the buzz surrounding Trinidad and Tobago's upcoming two-legged Play-Off fixture against Asian outfit, Bahrain, but it is an axed scout and equally-controversial high-profile administrator who hog the spotlight.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) special advisor and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner called his former employee, David Nakhid, a traitor on Monday and accused him of trying to gather footage for the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) in the build-up to their crucial qualifiers on November 12 and 16.
Nakhid, who worked as a chief scout for the T&TFF for much of their 2006 qualifying campaign, countered via live broadcast on I95FM that his former boss was stupid and dishonest.
Nakhid and Warner were unavailable for further comment yesterday, while national coach Leo Beenhakker, a Dutchman who previously held posts at top European teams like Real Madrid and Ajax, tried to keep his distance.
Nakhid alleged that Beenhakker's Dutch assistant, Wim Rijsbergen, racially insulted him and their dispute led to the Trinidadian being ostracised from the national set-up.
He also charged that Rijsbergen exchanged videotapes of Trinidad and Tobago players with a Bahrain official.
"No, he does not know what he is talking about," Beenhakker told the Trinidad Express. "It is unbelievable."
The veteran coach then remembered an urgent meeting he had to attend and asked to be excused.
Nakhid suggested he had proof and that the matter was not closed.
"I have some e-mails which I can provide in the near future, God willing, that show (Rijsbergen) has been exchanging videotapes of Trinidad with a Bahrain official," said Nakhid, in response to Warner's accusation. "To say that sending a tape or receiving a tape is treachery is just stupid."
Nakhid, who claimed to be Bahrain's national under-20 coach-in-waiting, has repeatedly denied having any role with the Asian country's senior team or, more specifically, in helping plot the downfall of the land of his birth.
The ex-national captain countered that Warner was trying to escape from fulfilling financial obligations to his former employee and suggested the FIFA bigwig might be trying to destabilise his own team.
"They owe me certain monies and they seized the opportunity to do this and not pay which is Jack Warner's typical tricks," Nakhid told I95. "I guess he has the Trinidad and Tobago public distracted now, which is what he wanted to do.
"As a matter of fact, it reminds me of 1989. I only hope they won't sell the country out a second time around by distracting the country from the issue at hand, which is going to Germany."
Nakhid insisted he did more for Trinidad and Tobago than Warner and that he still had his country at heart despite being on the verge of accepting a post from the BFA.
"My record is there for anyone to see," he said. "Let Jack Warner show his record...let the T&TFF show their record. The public will always have me down as a son of the soil and somebody who has always given his heart to Trinidad and Tobago.
"I think the Trinidad and Tobago public already knows how many times (Warner) has sold them out for more than 30 pieces of silver. Look at the 2001 World Cup (Under-17 tournament in Trinidad and Tobago) and how many credits and grants were given to him and members of his family for this tournament."
Nakhid's opening statement was arguably his most pertinent.
"It has reached the stage of ridiculous now," he said.