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19
Sun, May

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The following letter was posted yesterday on the message board of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation's website. The T&TFF have endorsed the writer's sentiments, claiming it shows that fans are keen to get involved in the welfare of the national team as they prepare for the final round of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, starting on February 9, Ash Wednesday, against the United States at the Queen's Park Oval.


In less than two weeks this country's national footballers will be coming up in one of most anticipated World Cup qualifying matches since the fateful November 19, 1989 game at the then National Stadium. Why is it the most anticipated? Simply because it will be played right in the climax of a season in which we as Trinbagonians naturally feel as if nothing is beyond our accomplishment. Carnival gives that to us.

The team is our hope for success on the world sporting stage and I am positive that the team can make that transition to becoming highly-capable world stage participants and we can indeed look forward to seeing our 'Warriors' play good ball and take our flag, calypso, soca, steelpan and everything else that is 'Trini' to the World Cup in Germany 2006.

But on the downside of the season which we are now experiencing, can we really expect to have some of our seasoned overseas and home-based professionals focus fully on the match against the Americans with our festive season in full swing?

I am pretty sure that the Americans are fully aware of what is happening in our country now and may be laughing and saying to themselves that they have already beaten us because we may have beaten ourselves even before kick off.

The fact is no one with Trinidad and Tobago heritage is able to fully concentrate on their tasks without thinking about Carnival and the partying that comes with it. I ask, do we expect that the likes, just to use the names Stern John, Brent Sancho, Shaka Hislop, Carlos Edwards, not to forget the locally-based players like Angus Eve, Marlon Rojas, Densil Theobald, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Cornell Glen and our other players, do not want to go to the fetes and not try to sneak away from camp to go on the streets on Carnival Monday and Tuesday? Are they even strong enough to stay away from it if coach Bertille St Clair left it up to them.

There's word that even Dwight Yorke may join the team again. Can he stay away from Brian Lara's Carnival Sunday party if he's in the team and not as far away as London? Word is that the team will be in Tobago from the weekend before the match and will fly in on a charter the morning of the game.

As a True Trini and the kind of fan that I am sure many of you out there are like as well, I say emphatically that we must play our part in winning over the Americans and getting to Germany.

To do this we must become monitors of the team, not hate the players but we too can play a role by ensuring that we see nothing happening on the outside which could affect the team's performances.

We must ensure that their whereabouts are within the guidelines set by the management of the team. Surely when some of them return home on Sunday, they may want to relax at a lime somewhere, maybe go to a fete but nothing beyond next Friday should be accepted. The only person who may just be allowed to roam the spots could be the team's media officer Shaun Fuentes, manager Richard Braithwaite and Bertille if he chooses to and only for them to monitor too what the players are up to. The Lord knows just how much Brian Lara may be crying at nights knowing that all the fun is in Trinidad while he toils in the middle far away in Australia. (T&TFF special adviser) Jack Warner wants only the best for the team and much of the public does too, let's hope the Government sees the worth of qualifying for a World Cup. We must pay $200 to see our boys play and we surely will not want to pay that price to see them play below their best.

Rest the limes for now because come Ash Wednesday and a win over the Americans I am quite sure that Johnny would be more than willing to entertain the team at his club and surely the rest of T&T will too. I am sure these players are all big men and sensible enough to know wrong from right. We as fans must play our part because we too care about the team on its 'Journey to Germany'. Love you. All the best to our Warriors

Respectfully,

A fan of Trinidad and Tobago who will be coming with a large band of fans to see us face the Americans.