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Catholic News correspondent, Laura Ann Phillips, spoke with her father Winston “Bee” Phillips former national coach and 1973 national player, in the lead up to World Cup 2006.

The Soca Warriors will need to play calypso football if their game is to improve, said former national coach and 1973 national player, Winston “Bee” Phillips, in a May 6 interview. “Calypso football” worked for the 1973 team, said Phillips, and he is confident it will work for the current and future national teams. Calypso football refers to the type of soccer in which players play “at the same speed of a calypso”.

It might be a good idea for players to do their warm up exercises accompanied by calypso music, Phillips suggested, because, “The rhythm of the game must maintain that rhythm; you play at a jog rather than a walk,” he explained. “It’s just our natural rhythm that is being reflected on the field.”

The natural rhythm and unpredictable pace of calypso manifests speed and aggression in a team, he said, and national coach, Leo Beenhakker, will definitely be working on their speed.

“In the next game, Beenhakker is going to force them to play forward and backward. Once you play forward and backward, the speed is going to increase. I am almost certain that, by the next game, we are going to see that. By the time the World Cup comes round, we’ll be playing calypso football.”

How can a Dutchman pass on the subtleties of calypso football?
“He’s showing them how to play football,” Phillips declared, “but because of our natural ability, our natural rhythm, they will transform what he’ll teach them!”

It shouldn’t be so hard for players to flick that internal switch and find that place that all Trinbagonians have in common, he opined. Local sides simply need an appreciation of who they are and the desire to incorporate that into the way they play.

Most major soccer sides base their style of play on the natural rhythms of their culture.

“Africans have the same rhythm when somebody dies and somebody is getting married,” he said, demonstrating the quick, light rhythm with his arms and torso. “An African cannot kick a ball and walk – that is not his rhythm! So, the ball coming fast and furious, there’s no setta thinking space! In order to maintain that they must be skilful; that’s why so many African players are coming into the top leagues.”

The formidable Brazilians are also schooled in incorporating their country’s natural rhythm into their style of play.

“When Brazilians play in Germany, they play the way Germans want you to play, but when they return to Brazil they fall right back in,” said Phillips. “When you return to your country they tell you this is how we want you to play. But you already know it, because you’ve played it from five years old.”

Consequently, those other teams, he said, “will always be aggressive and they will always be fast. They can’t afford to change that culture,” any more than T&T can afford to change theirs.

“You change your culture you change yourself, and change yourself to what? To something unknown!” Phillips declared. “If we play calypso football we’re going to be a force, because calypso is different from anything else in the world!”