happened before…will it occur now?
talking about Trinidad and Tobago football and the penchant for following
up brilliant highs with forgettable lows.
in 1989 it was the 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over El Salvador
in Port of Spain, being succeeded by the horrid 0-0 draw in the return
game - a result that, upon reflection, proved lethal in the end.
there was the case of this country's outstanding performance in the
Gold Cup last February, where a semi-final spot was claimed for the
first time ever. The euphoria that surrounded that event was rapidly
quashed by the circumstances involving the sacking of coach Bertille
St. Clair, and the barring of three players from the national team:
David Nakhid, Jerren Nixon and Michael McComie. Subsequently, there
were the less-than-impressive displays during the first three-rounds
of the current World Cup qualifiers, against the likes of the Netherlands
Antilles, Dominican Republic and Haiti. And, to make sure that the Gold
Cup experience became a distant memory, the national team then went
1-3-2 in a series of friendly internationals: results that included
a 2-1 loss to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
the bad run is apparently all over and Trinidad and Tobago is now sitting
atop its semi-final group, following victories over the two favourites:
Mexico and Canada. The major questions now are: How long will it last?
Can the national team maintain the momentum gained from those two important
victories? Will this country’s players continue raising their game to
the required level? Or will next Wednesday’s game against a lesser,
but plucky, opponent turn out to be a struggle?
a time when Panama was one of the weakest countries in Central American
football. Yet, these days the Panamanians seem to be made of some pretty
resilient material. They managed to hold out against Mexico, until the
88th minute, in their opening 1-0 loss in Panama City, and they also
fought Canada to a 0-0 draw. However, Panama is also a team that Trinidad
and Tobago is very capable of beating twice for an additional six points.
Trinidad and Tobago is capable of completing this task will depend a
lot upon the mind set that will be carried into next week’s game. First
of all, one must accept the fact that the Football Confederation 2002
World Cup-qualifying competition is far from over. There are still four
more games to go in this stage: to be followed by an additional ten
in the final round. So, any notions of Trinidad and Tobago being World
Cup-bound must be postponed until December 2001. The national team has
to continue performing at a consistently high level. In light of the
tough fight that Panama is likely give; it is important that Trinidad
and Tobago approach this game in the same manner that it approached
the encounter against Mexico.
is the key factor: being able to view every game as an opportunity to
gain valuable points. More succinctly, it is the ability to view the
Panamanians in their true colours: a strong but limited bunch, prepared
to give it their all in spite of their lack of pedigree. On one
hand, they are a group of fighters: on the other they represent this
country’s weakest group opponents and they can, and should be, beaten
Trinidad and Tobago national team recognizes this fact and decides to
continue playing at the required level, then there is no reason why
a couple of victories, and points, cannot be achieved.