Fri, Feb


ALTHOUGH we in the Caribbean welcomed our respective Olympic Medallists, during the past week, there was little else about which to boast—Shivnarine Chanderpaul being our one exception.

It was a gloomy week for Caribbean football, as none of the five nations in the CONCACAF semi-final round achieved what they needed.

In the matches played last week Saturday and on Wednesday night, only TT came away with a point—and a solitary point at that. Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and Suriname all lost twice, and all will find it difficult to win enough points in the final three matches in order make the final round of six countries in 2009.

We too now have our work cut out for us, as we sit, with Guatemala, on four points, and still to play Guatemala in Guatemala City (October 11th), USA here (October 14th) and Cuba (here November 19th).

It is unlikely that Cuba will present a challenge to any of the teams at this stage, but hopefully they will rise against Guatemala in Havana, and set the Central Americans back.

The United States should defeat Cuba and Guatemala in the USA and stay on top of the group—which now suits us, and we should hope that the Americans win both these encounters. However, The Americans do have a habit of dropping their standards, and using reserves, once they have qualified.

However, whatever happens between the Americans, Cubans and Guatemalans in their encounters, we must win ours, and this includes beating Guatemala in their home, and the Americans and Cubans here at Hasely Crawford Stadium. What are our chances of this? First, let’s go back to our last two matches.

The two points lost in the final minute against Guatemala will hurt us until we pull back points which we may not have expected. While most of us were satisfied with the Soca Warriors’ performance—it was an excellent game of football, our failure to score remains a weakness. However, my greatest disappointment was the absence of all the so-called fans of the Soca Warriors.

Those who came, with the huge National Flag and their painted faces, were reasonably vociferous, but there were less than 10,000—in a stadium seating 24,000. So where were you, Mr and Mrs Soca Warriors fan?

You, “Soca Warrior till ah dead”, let an important home qualifier pass without your attendance and support. But you going South Africa, right? Yeah! At the end of the Final Round we go see you (sic), looking for your ticket and claiming your loyalty.

In June, while you all complained about the price of the friendly against England, you filled the stadium to see Beckham, not to support TT. So when you have a World Cup qualifier but without Beckham, you have no time for the Warriors. Thanks a lot folks!

I tried to watch the replay of this match on C-TV on Sunday afternoon. I accepted that, since it was not live, they would interrupt for advertisements (although FOX and ESPN—first world broadcasters— do not interrupt soccer re-runs!).

However, C-TV suddenly, without announcement or apology, indeed without even acknowledgment, cut from the football to run an old Discovery Channel re-run, cancelling the last six minutes of the match! What is wrong with you guys at all?

I could not watch any of the match against the United States, but I tried. I only saw distorted and broken images for a while, then a blank and silent screen stating “temporarily off the air” for C-TV.

As I seek to discover where the fault lay—C-TV, FLOW, or my set—I am calling upon TTFF to ensure that those to whom broadcast rights are given, they “deliver” the match, in full, uninterrupted, and on time.