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20
Thu, Jun

Typography
Given the national football team's first-time World Cup Finals entry-what is coach Beenhakker's thinking and how is Trinidad and Tobago's favourite adopted son now about to move?


 What I mean is-is he still on the alert for new talent to emerge, given the excitement of actually going to Germany or will he remain faithful to all the players who have made this question possible?

That, of course, is not mine but the coach's decision, arguments sure to arise on one side or the other, which is one of the reasons why his salary has to be many times mine and, indeed, Mr Manning's, a nation's pride hanging on his reasoning not that I expect (as some Trinbagonians incredibly are expecting) to win the World Cup, escaping humiliation on the world stage more than good enough for me.

All praise and thanks to the Trinbago team of 2005 that has, historically, brought us this far but this, well, oldish man (when, Sunday gone, I hit 60, "Crabbie", the Laventille Rhythm Section's 20-year-old drummer, exclaimed with genuine alarm: 'O God! Sixty! You going and dead just now!) still follows in his memory the flair of that 1973 team. Remember them, fellow 60-year-olds or thereabouts:

1973: Trinidad & Tobago 4-0 Mexico (WQC).

SCORERS: Everald Cummings 11th, 39th, Steve David 52nd, Warren Archibald 62nd.

SQUAD: Kelvin Barclay, Russell Tesheira (Raymond Moraldo 81st), Selwyn Murren, Selris Figaro, Lawrence Rondon, Everald Cummings, Dennis Morgan, Anthony Douglas, Steve David, Steve Khan (Sydney Augustine 74th), Warren Archibald.

1973: Haiti 2-1Â Trinidad & Tobago -(WCQ), December 4.

SCORER: Steve David 15th.

SQUAD: Kelvin Barclay, Lawrence Rondon, Selris Figaro, Selwyn Murren, Winston Phillips, Dennis Morgan, Anthony Douglas, Everald Cummings, Steve David, Raymond Roberts (Wilfred Cave 83rd), Warren Archibald.

T&T would have gone to Germany not just now but for the World Cup finals held there then but for the machinations of a teefing referee (paid by the late and universally unlamented Papa Doc, said referee (know your football history "Crabbie" and the rest of you 20-year-olds) being banned for FIFA for life after his theft of that World Cup qualifying game). Tanty, that was team (Bahrain would have likely been beaten 10-0 at home here and 7-0 in their own desert sand)) and I am not taking anything away from this glory-bringing 2005 team when I say I keep looking for the totality of that football flair (incredibly, even without the services of, I assume, injured Leroy de Leon, arguably South's greatest player ever and, again arguably, North's too, as well, not that Cummings, Yorke and Latapy may not have, arguably again and again, validly contesting claims, Alvin Corneal, Carlton Franco and his like smiling knowingly on the outside).

Seven months from now the likes of Latapy and Yorke will be even more in the twilight of their careers, stars still, but fading at least faintly and while we have a couple of bright new sparks in, say, Aurtis Whitley and Stern John the rest of this World Cup journey is sure to be harder than what went before which means we could do with a fresh light or two if we are to arrive there at our "hardest".

"Hardest" is, of course, the nickname of Nelson Street's Kerwyn Jemmott and lest you feel that I am here making a pitch for his call (or should that be recall) let me tell you that I have never seen him play and, too besides, even his many flagwavers (as far as skill on the ball is concerned) lower the flags to half-mast when the talk comes around to the hard work and discipline required, "Hardest", I hear, preferring the relatively easy life of those, well, ghetto games, than the almost daily grind required to make and sustain it at the highest level.

Still, I keep remembering, colleague Garth Wattley telling me that "Hardest", naturally, has all it takes to have been Latapy's natural successor and I keep remembering, too, a recent conversation I had with David Nakhid (and, by the way, if you knew Nakhid close up and, more than that, if you know the "vaunting" of his ambitions you'd laugh at the very idea of his ever selling out Trinidad and Tobago:

"You know a feller called 'Hardest'?"

"What? Ha! Look his number (showing me same on the cell phone)."

"They tell me could be a great player".

"Whatever you hear-double that!"

"They tell me he could be Latapy's natural successor?"

"Double that."

And in addition to this whenever I happen to be at some social function (such as Derek-One Eye-Strongy-Samuel's mother's wake) and the talk comes 'round to today's football Jemmott's is the name that keeps cropping up:

"All that talent but...."

Listen, I am not about to be judgmental here, one of the things I having learnt in life being that you don't condemn a man unless you have walked in his own shoes and I haven't a clue what Jemmott looks like far more knowing what is the jamming that has turned him into the "Hardest". But nothing about any of this can stop me from wishing that a recharged "Hardest" might have made it a bit easier for all the rest of Trinbagonian us.