BEAT Bahrain, Beat Bahrain. That is the song that is playing all over Trinidad and Tobago at the moment.
It is indeed what everyone wants to happen on Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo but first we need to sort out a few issues.
Will the tickets be fairly distributed? What guarantee is there that those who are not well-known or well-connected will have any chance to obtain a ticket?
The fact that only three venues will be utilised for the sale of tickets suggests that there could be a lot of chaos and confusion, unless it is well-planned and there are enough people involved to deal with the volume of traffic expected.
In fact, dare we ask how many tickets are being allocated to these three venues? What is the grand total?
The reason for this is simple. The Hasely Crawford Stadium we have been told holds between 25,000 to 27,000 persons.
What would be the agreed figure for spectator accommodation between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and FIFA for security purposes?
Also how many tickets have been allocated to the Bahrain supporters, if any?
Will there be any provision via a large television monitor at various venues in Trinidad and Tobago such as the Queen’s Park Oval, Dwight Yorke Stadium, Larry Gomes Stadium, and the Manny Ramjohn Stadium for those who cannot get entry to the match venue?.
While it may be understandable that there is a great fear that counterfeit tickets may be produced once people have enough time to inspect the valid tickets, this alone is not a justifiable reason for such short time frame of ticket sales (Friday and Saturday) initially and then finally one day (Friday).
It is now evident that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation and the Local Organising Company for Germany have been caught on the back-foot. They were not prepared for this.
So therefore they could not put in place enough procedures and measures to ensure the integrity of ticket sales. This tunnel vision of two days that became one day by those two organisations and their hapless explanation of the rationale behind this plan suggest that their management need to be given a stern warning for their lack of professionalism.
I am afraid that the fact that Austin Jack Warner had to get involved shows how important the matter is which needs much experience and planning to be successful in the long run.
The uncertainty preludes more problems than solutions. However, let us hope that all will be okay with this and that there will be no untoward incidents and that there will be no repercussions. Honesty and transparency must prevail and the integrity of the tickets sales must be honoured.
This is a time when the country must unite, when people with different backgrounds, locations and values must find a common place, and use football to bring Trinidad and Tobago together.
Yes, we all want to attend the match, yes there is no better experience to be than in the stadium when Trinidad and Tobago wins, yes we all want to see a part of history that day.
But the reality is that it will not be possible. Instead we must unite and allow our belief and our prayers to carry our team over the Bahrain challenge.
Beat Bahrain, Beat Bahrain— as Ninja sings so beautifully in his song— is our goal. So for the next few days while the Bahrain team will be in this country, let us make them welcome with that song , so that it reverberates in their every thought.
Let us make them aware that all of Trinidad and Tobago will be ready for battle.