Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2014 Contents A53
December 7, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
When Paul Caligiuri scored
that immense goal, after 30 min-
utes---the shot heard around the
world---in the final qualifier for
World Cup Italia 1990 on Novem-
ber 19, 1989, sending teammates
and some 150 million USA fans
into delirium, the goal also sent
T&T s supporters into total
Life was looking good for me in
1989, as my daughter Shannon
"Queen Nefertiti" was born that year,
but the year also ended with a
tremendous sporting downer.
T&T, then the premier footballing
nation in our parts, were trying to go
where, up to that point, no other
English-speaking Caribbean nation
had gone before, agonisingly, debil-
itatingly, lost to USA, 1-0, at Hasely
Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain.
Every cricketer, rugby player, tennis
player, jockey, sportsperson in Eng-
lish-speaking Caribbean moaned that
evening, not to mention decked-out-
in-red 1.4 million at-home support-
ers. It was terrible!
Tuesday was much worse than the
parallel scene back on November 19,
1989. To show how important one
single moment can actually be, that
1989 win for USA also confirmed
USA s application to host World Cup
1994. Soccer, as Americans call it,
would never be the same again there.
Not until World Cup Germany
2006, 17 years later, did T&T s "Soca
Warriors" regain some semblance of
soccer sanity, when they did qualify,
by the enamel on their teeth, just as
they had lost back in 1989. They per-
formed minor miracles too, in another
last qualifying place play-off; after
1-1 in first leg at home, beating
Bahrain 1-0, away in Manama, cour-
tesy of Dennis Lawrence. Oh, what
a fabulous feeling!
By then though, even if T&T still
holds the record as smallest nation
to qualify for FIFA World Cup s, their
Caribbean counterparts, Jamaica s
"Reggae Boys," had upstaged them
big-time by qualifying first from our
normally cricket superior region for
any Fifa World Cup football compe-
tition anywhere, Germany 1998.
The "Reggae Boys" did do all of
us proud too in Germany but still,
those celebrations for the "Soca War-
riors" in Germany 2006 had to be
experienced to be believed. That was
real, magnificent theatre! But little
did anyone know that deja vu from
1989 would return, 25 years and two
weeks later, for T&T s women -- The
"Soca Princesses"---on Tuesday.
The girls had played their hearts
out in initial qualifying tournament
in USA, then in Ecuador (0-0), only
to fall flat on their backs, absolutely
devastated at this last hurdle.
God, how gut wrenching can that
have been, losing at home, again, in Port-
This time, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,
and social media lit up, every sinew pho-
tographed by Smart Phones, even body
cameras, very much unlike 1989 when Bill
Gates, IBM and others were still just con-
templating how to make these gadgets
work for our convenience and their wealth.
In 1989, from Florida, I listened to BBC
World Service while looking at ESPN, to
cover that match between T&T versus
USA. This year presented no such problem
as T&T versus Ecuador Women s World
Cup qualifier was live and direct on all
media platforms and formats - new and
old---anywhere around the world.
But sometimes, the more things change,
yet the more they remain the same! Unreal!
These "Soca Princesses" had come a very
long way, from not long ago actually having
to beg for simple allowances for their very
existence -- needing donations of water,
and funds and facilities for training sit-
uations, for which so many donated.
Suddenly, they were being lauded by
all and sundry, top to bottom, now that
the bandwagon was well and truly on its
way, possibly travelling to Canada 2015
Women s World Cup.
Why the Caribbean never seems to
understand how important sport is, and
respect it in any form, could be discussed
forever, as it seems we never learn or
understand sport s enormity.
Canada, especially Toronto, probably
has more original, second and third gen-
eration, Guyanese and Trinidadians and
Tobagonians, than both countries actually
have proper natives living in Guyana or
Can you imagine what would have hap-
pened in Ottawa if the "Soca Princesses"
had managed to join USA, Costa Rica and
Mexico, traditionally powerhouses in foot-
ball from Concacaf?
Anyway, already stressed from prepa-
rational problems and at full force playing
Mexico for that final automatic place, only
to lose 4-2 after extra time, from pure
exhaustion, the "Soca Princesses" had to
find new resolve to travel to high Quito,
Ecuador, to come away with an extremely
credible 0-0 draw.
That made it all the more an almost
total replay of 1989, to play at home in
Port of Spain in front of total adoring
crowds - friends, foes, families, touts and
all - for that final qualifying place for
Canada Women s World Cup 2015. Stress
metres would have exploded had they been
applied to those girls.
When Ecuador s Monica Quinteros
chipped that soft aerial shot to score in
an almost open goal, excruciatingly in
stoppage time, all T&T s supporters must
have died a second time, remembering
USA s Caligiuri tame shot to score in 1989.
T&T s girls, though, had come through
so much more and deserved much more
too. This defeat in 2014 was massively
worse, in all aspects, than in 1989!
Much more painful for
T&T Soca Princess
Deja vu 1989...
COLIN EH CROFT
qualifier at the
Ecuador won 1-
0 to advance to
World Cup in
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