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FORMER T&T midfielder Densill Theobald said representing this country at the 2006 World Cup in Germany was the highlight of his football career. He said witnessing the brilliance of Shaka Hislop and Russell Latapy will stay in his mind, along with being given the responsibility to mark English football star David Beckham.

Theobald, who announced his retirement from professional football, on Friday, played all three matches for this country at the World Cup against Sweden, England and Paraguay.

Theobald always had dreams of making it to the highest level when he grew up in East Port of Spain. He said, “Just the living example of myself can infuse hope to the next generation coming from these areas and just being able to know that it does not matter where you come from, but what is inside of you plays a big role in becoming who you are.”

Theobald, now 36, was one of the youngsters on the T&T team which included experienced players Latapy, Hislop, Dwight Yorke, Dennis Lawrence, Marvin Andrews and Stern John.

Theobald, who was 23 at the World Cup, said playing at the World Cup is a moment he will never forget.

“Most definitely (my most memorable moment) will have to be the 2006 World Cup. Just being a youngster on that team and having the privilege and the opportunity to play in the World Cup. I think it is unexplainable how someone can describe that moment to anyone – that will definitely be my highlight.”

T&T brought joy to all supporters after holding Sweden to a goalless draw after playing the second half with ten men. Goalkeeper Hislop was one of the heroes for T&T in the match making some brilliant saves.

Theobald said seeing the excellence of 37-year-old Hislop was special. Hislop replaced Kelvin Jack at the last minute for the Sweden match, after Jack was injured during the warm up.

“For me, there are a couple moments that stand out. One being in the first game with Shaka stepping in for Jack because of his injury and knowing that he had a fabulous, unbelievable match that game.”

Theobald said he admires Hislop’s work ethic. “It stood out for me because it just shows that if you fail to prepare you just have to prepare to fail. It just goes to show the type of person and man that Shaka Hislop was in terms of keeping himself prepared even though he was the third choice (goalkeeper) at that point in time.” Clayton Ince was also in contention to start after Jack’s injury, but Hislop was selected.

Theobald said being given the responsibility by T&T coach Leo Beenhakker to mark Beckham during this country’s second match against England was a great feeling.

He said, “Another one that stood out to me was when Leo Beenhakker trusted me with that opportunity to mark Beckham out of the game for England. I was 23 years old at the World Cup and having a duty and role like that entrusted to you by a coach of that pedigree and experience was something that stood out to me.” T&T prevented England from scoring for most of the match, before two goals in the final ten minutes gave England a 2-0 win. Theobald said seeing Latapy come off the bench against Paraguay in T&T’s final match was a special moment also. “Being able to witness the great magician of Russell Latapy (was great). He was able to touch and grace the World Cup stage that he so desired all of his life.”

Latapy, who was 37 at the 2006 World Cup, came off the bench and played the final 23 minutes against Paraguay in a 2-0 loss for T&T. It was Latapy’s only playing time during the World Cup.


SOURCE: T&T Newsday