Trinidad and Tobago football legend and former Manchester United stand-out Dwight Yorke confirmed yesterday that he was not invited to Saturday's FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup final, which will be held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, as local organisers showed greater appreciation for foreign stars.
England international pin-up David Beckham, Yorke's former United teammate, and ex-Netherlands and AC Milan star Ruud Gullit are in Trinidad for coaching clinics at present and will join German World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer and FIFA president Sepp Blatter as guests of honour at the Under-17 final.
However, Yorke, when contacted by the Express yesterday, admitted that he and his close friend and West Indies cricket icon Brian Lara were overlooked.
"I haven't gotten any invite and neither has Lara," said Yorke, who is now employed as a football analyst by British television network, Sky Sport, "and yet we are sporting ambassadors for Trinidad and Tobago, so what does that say for our country?
"I don't think this would happen anywhere else. Can you imagine there being a massive football event in England or the Netherlands and their FA invited me to make a presentation and not any of their star players?"
Yorke boasts an unprecedented level of success for a Caribbean footballer, with three Premier League titles as well as the European Champions League, the FA Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, after becoming Manchester United's record signing in 1998, and two League Cup titles with Aston Villa.
He was England's joint leading goal-scorer in United's historic treble-winning season and is seventh in the Premier League's all-time scoring charts—Frenchman Thierry Henry and Netherlands striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are the only foreign players to have scored more than the Tobagonian.
Yorke also captained Trinidad and Tobago at senior and under-21 World Cups and was a Chaconia Gold Medal awardee in 2006—at the same time that then Prime Minister Patrick Manning appointed the former Signal Hill student as the country's Sporting Ambassador.
But the title is beginning to feel hollow to Yorke.
"It is good to have all these people come in to our country and everyone knows that Beckham and I have a special friendship," said Yorke. "But if we are talking about inspiring youths in Trinidad and Tobago, then why do we have to turn to Beckham when we already have someone from right here who has achieved everything in the game and has all these medals and trophies at the same level as these guys?
"Lara and I would love the opportunity to share our knowledge with the schools and underprivileged kids so they could pick our brains and see what made us unique and things of that nature that I always wanted to do. But, apart from my role with Tobago, I haven't been asked."
LOC mum on Dwight snub.
By Lasana Liburd (T&T Express).
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 2010 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup yesterday refused to confirm or deny whether Trinidad and Tobago football star and 2006 World Cup captain Dwight Yorke was invited to tomorrow's World Cup final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
LOC deputy CEO Nataki Kerr said that she was unhappy with the contents of yesterday's Express report, in which Yorke complained about being ignored for the final while foreign stars like England international David Beckham were invited.
However, Kerr declined the chance to present the viewpoint of the LOC.
"I have no comment to make," Kerr told the Express.
At present, Yorke works as a football analyst for SkySports in England, while he also serves as Tobago's Ambassador to the United Kingdom. But Yorke, the Caribbean's most celebrated footballer and Trinidad and Tobago's Sporting Ambassador, said he was eager to impart his knowledge to local children and is disappointed that he has not been asked to do so.
Yorke reiterated yesterday that he was not invited for the Under-17 final.