There is no denying that Trinidad and Tobago football is nowhere near where it needs to be.
According to the latest FIFA men's ranking, T&T is currently ranked at number 104 in world.
That is just two places away from our lowest ranking ever.
The lowest point the team had ever sunk to was in 2010, when it was ranked 106th.
This is a far cry from the 25-placed ranking T&T had in 2001, which was the beginning of a new phase of rebuilding.
It is also a distance away from the quality of football produced when the Soca Warriors took the heart of the nation with them to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, having qualified as the smallest nation ever to do so.
But T&T’s current ranking is probably surprising to no one, as the Soca Warriors finished dead last in the King's Cup exhibition tournament last month, losing against Tajikistan and Thailand.
Tajikistan is currently ranked 108 and Thailand is ranked 111. Malaysia, who also participated in the four-team tournament and placed second overall, is currently ranked 146.
Unfortunately, the T&T women's team is not faring much better in the rankings than their male counterparts.
The T&T women's team is currently ranked 75. This country's lowest ranking before this year was 73.
But the silver lining of sorts in this dark cloud of football in T&T has proven to be the Secondary School's Football League (SSFL).
Yesterday, St Benedict’s College were crowned the 2022 Premier League Champions after a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Fatima College.
Both teams were undefeated up to yesterday's last game.
But there were no losers after yesterday’s game.
Yesterday's final between St Benedict's College and Fatima College was able to attract a crowd at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva that even the national teams, both men and women, would be proud of.
And this was not an anomaly, as, throughout the league, spectators consistently showed up in their numbers to cheer on the young players. In any event, school football has always had a tradition of good support, especially since the players have readymade support in the form of close family, friends, schoolmates, alma mater and members of the various communities turning up to support the schools participating in the various competitions.
After a forced two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to stop its spread, this season is a welcome return to activities on and off the field of play.
During a period where school fights and other negatives are regularly highlighted on social media, it is heartening to see school children coming together in a better light.
But this is not limited only to the boys.
The girls have also been able to attract crowds to their games.
We applaud all the parties responsible for making this a successful league and wish them the best going forward with all other schools' football competitions.
This is a bright spot in a country calling out for something to celebrate amid rising crime and other atrocities.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian