If one was not aware that T&T was hosting the final round of CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 world cup qualifiers, January 18th-28th 2018 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, and passed by the stadium they still would not have known that the region’s top Under-20 women footballers were engaged in qualification matches for a place at the 2018 World Cup in France, August 5-24.
For instance, there were no bold large banners, and others forms of marketing strategies along the turn-off on to the Preysal flyover and along the entrance to the stadium. There was nothing to catch the attention of those who were unaware of the event. Furthermore, persons exercise on a daily basis outside of the stadium were unaware of the tournament although they would see the buses and associated police escort on match days. The atmosphere for a major regional football event was very flat and bland even though T&T was playing.
For a major event, the heavy grass along either side of the roadway to the stadium save for one area just before the stadium entrance was not aesthetically appealing and good for sport tourism.
Inside the stadium, all stands except the covered were empty or had a sprinkling of spectators. On the opening night, the local fans wore the customary red and the national team played in white while the Haitians played in red! The buzz and hype of 2010 women Under-17 FIFA World Cup was totally absent.
Where were the school children especially the women footballers from clubs and schools in the country? Were schools and clubs encouraged to attend and adopt a team? For example, the Preysal High school is a stone throw away, creative ideas could have been implemented to get students and their parents to attend the games. CEPEP workers could have been employed to spruce up the area leading to the stadium.
Sport tourism involves attracting local and foreign spectators and no detail must be overlooked so as to maximise positive impact. The experiences of foreign sport tourists have to be positively lasting so they will want to return along with new visitors. Additionally, and equally important, the same applies for local sport tourists to ensure sporting events are successful.
“I don’t feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” Michel Foucault.