Sun, Jul

Alvin Ainsley Corneal

Alvin Corneal Nickname
Height5′ 8″ (1.73 m)
Date of Birth October 13th, 1937 (age 84)
Place of Birth San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago
Caps/Goals12    ( 4 goals)
Last ClubMaple
Previous ClubsTrinidad Petroleum Development
SchoolsFatima College

A naturally gifted left-handed sportsman, Alvin Corneal was one of Trinidad and Tobago's most brilliant footballers, a cricketer who could well have played for West Indies had there been less talent in the Caribbean team during his time, and a table tennis ace who, given greater concentration in the game would surely have been a national champion, or close to one. But it was at football he raised to really great heights and it is the game he admits he loves best. Knowledgeable and scientifically adept in the game, he was a national player from quite young. He was only 17 and a student at Fatima College when he represented Trinidad and Tobago against an English All-Amateur team in 1954.

In fact, Corneal was a stripling of 16 when he lined up in the North-South Red Cross Cup match of 1953 and thus, played in every one of these classic between 1953-1968 for both North and South, except the 1959 match.

A member of the first Caribbean team that toured the United Kingdom in 1959, Corneal netted six goals on the tour and despite being one of the youngest members of the team he was regarded as one of the key figures in the side. He played mainly at left-wing but during his best days he was used as a striker and his two powerful kicking feet often left goal-keepers in no-man's land at all levels of the game.

After leaving school Corneal went to the South and took up a job with TPD, then one of the most powerful football outfits in Trinidad and Tobago. He returned to Port of Spain on many occasions, either with his club or with the South team, and reminded North football fans of his splendid soccer qualities with skilful displays and excellent goals with either foot. Corneal's love for football meant that he read a great deal about the game and few, if any of his contemporaries, studied the fundamentals and higher skills more than he did.

He returned to Port of Spain in the early 1960's and lined up with Maple, then a magnificent side, led by Sedley Joseph. And Corneal played no small part in Maple's tremendous successes in those times as they perfected the new 4-2-4 system and others close to it with efficiency and results. Around this time also, Corneal was a regular member of the national cricket team and proved to be a fine opening batsman or a higher-order batsman who helped Trinidad and Tobago's team re-develop after a slump in the 1950's. He was a member of the Shell Shield champion teams of 1970 and 1971, skippered by Joey Crew with whom he battered the Jamaican bowling in the memorable opening partnership in 1970. But football remained Corneal's first love and he continued with the national team and Maple and was eventually named coach of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth team in 1969. In 1967 he helped Trinidad & Tobago to win a bronze medal at the CONCACAF tournament in Canada.

Corneal became national senior coach in 1980 when Trinidad and Tobago became champions of the Caribbean Football Union's tournament for the first time. Even after his best years were behind him, Corneal used to appear for Maple for a final ten minutes or so in first class matches, and on more than one occasion netted the winning goal for his team (one a hat-trick) when his younger teammates failed to do so. Corneal is now a leading sports analyst and commentator on radio, television and in the press as he continues to bring to the nation his authoritative views.
(T&T Sports Hall of Fame bio)

Honors for Alvin
  • Inducted into Trinidad & Tobago's Sports Hall of Fame in 1989

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