about the status of last week's opponents, the fact of the matter is
that the Trinidad and Tobago national team, seemingly in a crisis two
months ago, is now on a hot streak of form.
Porterfield's team did to Panama at the Queen's Park Oval was simply
what it should have done to the likes of the Netherlands Antilles, the
Dominican Republic and even Haiti: dominate and destroy a weak opponent.
It had been explained before that the Panamanians did possess a certain
degree of tenacity, which was demonstrated in the games against Mexico
and Canada. However, this strength was merely a veneer that masked the
many weaknesses that lay underneath and it was postulated that Trinidad
and Tobago, should it continue playing at a high level should be able
to get a full six points from both games against Panama.
of course, that the job is only partially done. Trinidad and Tobago
is now in a comfortable position with nine points. One train of thought
is that this should be enough to get into the next round. However, the
fact is that this is not a mathematical certainty and that there are
still three more games to go in this group, from which Trinidad and
Tobago is obliged to continue racking up its points total. Again, the
aim should be to get another victory against Panama, as well as at least
a point off of Canada. Not surprisingly, there does not seem to be a
whole lot of people predicting great things for Mexico City. But, with
Trinidad and Tobago likely to meet Mexico in the final round - should
this country qualify for this stage - it is important that Trinidad
and Tobago prove that it can be competitive at the Azteca Stadium.
the burgeoning support for team is just what the doctor ordered. The
national team needs to be bouyed by the knowledge that it has the support
of the people of Trinidad and Tobago behind it. This being said, it
is important that things do not get out of hand like they did eleven
years ago. In this regard, one must respect coach Porterfield's decision
to have closed training sessions: a marked contrast to the public charades
that were permitted in 1989. Corporate support for the World Cup-qualifying
effort is a little more healthy than it was a couple months ago, with
Carib re-emerging onto the local football scene as the national team's
most ubiquitous backer.
only one disturbing trend from 1989 that I would like to see killed
soon. This is the popular sentiment that a World Cup place is all but
guaranteed for the Trinidad and Tobago national team. While this is
good from a motivational standpoint, it is dangerous when one considers
the destructive effect it most likely had on the team before that final
game against the USA during the 1990 World Cup campaign.
It is the
task of the media to try and keep things in check - something that it
failed to do back then. The fact is that Trinidad and Tobago still has
more hurdles to cross before the "Big Dance" and it is up to the press
to keep everyone aware of the complicated tack assigned to Porterfield
and his team.
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