Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2013 Contents 15
Issue 95 • Friday, July 5, 2013
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One of my colleagues asked me if the game I
was watching was the "Under-12 tournament
that's going on".
In her defense, she's not a sports fan, so I
replied to the query as though it were a valid
"No," I said, "It's the Confederations Cup
final between Spain and Brazil. These are
The look on her face spoke of disbelief, and
as I watched the young man writhing on the
pitch I totally got what she was saying: These
Brazillians look like a bunch of kids. A bunch of
kids picked up from their beach football sweat
at the Copacabana, rather than the team that
would, by the end of the scheduled 90 minutes
on Sunday, dismantle Spain in a resounding 3-0
Hulk, the Zenit St Petersburg forward that
terrorised the fields of Europe these last few
years, looks like he could make a living as
someone's boy toy.
Defenders David Luiz and Marcello look
more like stoners than professional footballers,
with their big, fluffy hair and mellow, laid back
vibe sure to be the target of WADA testers
doubtful stares. (Those positives, I'm certain,
would most likely be for cannabinoids in recre-
Then there's Jô, and Oscar... faces still soft
with mother's milk, and Fred, who bears a
striking resemblance to Jamaican dancehall
star Shaggy. But Fred would score twice
against this Spain team, which had dominated
international football in recent years as they
won back-to-back European titles as well as
the 2010 World Cup. But, it was the slender,
boyish brat, Neymar, who was grimacing on the
pitch when my colleague asked the question of
the action going on at the Maracana on Sunday.
And who could give her wrong? Dude looks like
a kid, right?
This is the new generation of "A Seleção"---
the men in the canary yellow tops with the
emerald green trim who have woven the most
magical of footballing legends. Brazil's past...
with the nicknames above that number on the
back of their shirts, screams at you. Sunday's
game, played at the Maracana---a cathedral at
the nexus of the religion of football---is holy
ground for this hero myth.
But the holy ground was tainted with real
blood, as in 1950, when hosts Brazil lost the
1950 World Cup final game 2--1 to Uruguay,
known to the faithful as the Maracanazo (the
Maracana blow). At least two people commit-
ted suicide that day, jumping from the stadium.
Who knows how many more died inside, as
hope dried in their hearts. Rio de Janeiro is
home to millions of poor and disfranchised
Brazilians, who count on the magic of football
to ease the drudge of daily life in the favelas.
Many of those were outside the stadium on
Sunday, protesting the millions spent by the
government in hosting the 2014 World Cup. For
them, the taste of victory cannot replace the
calories of three square meals, nor the magic
and the myth counterbalance the hopelessness
of life without jobs and opportunity. Sportline
is not the forum for those very real issues,
however, but I feel their pain.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said
that: "We must congratulate Brazil because
they showed that they know how to play
against Spain." In truth, Brazil only looked ex-
posed once, on the counter-attack and in build-
ing a legend of his own, David Luiz was back to
cover with an heroic goal-line clearance to keep
Pedro off the score sheet. Goalkeeper Julio
Cesar owes him half a match fee for that mira-
cle.Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari downplayed the
victory to the press after the game, but for
Brazil this competition was not just a test for
their stadia and infrastructure. He and his team
also passed it with flying colours. They will be
even more expectant at the World Cup, but if
they support the side in the manner which they
did on Sunday then Brazil will be confident they
can take on the world---and win.
Now, Neymar leaves Santos for Barcelona
and his five-year, €57 million signing makes the
21-year-old the eighth most expensive signing
in football history. His contract also includes a
buyout clause worth €190 million. He'll be play-
ing alongside another legend in the making, Li-
onel Messi, and in a few weeks the two will
become everyone else's worst nightmare.
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In a recent interview with the
Newsday, president of the Trinidad &
Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC),
Brian Lewis has set a national objec-
tive to achieve eight more Olympic
gold medals by the 2024 Summer
In setting the target Lewis has al-
ready outdone his predecessors in
that he has put the goals and aspira-
tions into a context within which we
can measure the TTOC's success---or
Lewis, a rugby man in his playing
days and the former general secre-
tary of the organisation he now
heads, is not unaccustomed to taking
a hit. So putting himself in the line of
fire like that is nothing new to him.
But, in as much as the TTOC is the
mechanism through which our na-
tional team represents at the
Olympics, PanAm and Common-
wealth games, let us not forget that
it is the individual athletes them-
selves who are the only ones who can
do the actual winning.
In many sports, the coaches and
administrators often take the knock
for the losses, especially in societies
like ours, where the hegemony of the
personality conflicts between leaders
who prefer to play the gods of de-
struction than to create opportunities
for the mortals under their command.
Lewis seems to be the type of man
who understands that that era is
over, and that there is more to be
gained from an inclusionary vision
than from exclusionary distractions.
"The TTOC has a number of ele-
ments. The High Performance Centre,
which is really about the Olympics on
one end, Sport-4-All, which is about
"We also build a capacity with
sports administration courses, en-
couraging to shape communities and
health and wellness among others.
These are simply what we have done
over the years in terms of building
the NSOs," he explained.
Ten? Only? I'm counting next
year's 4x100m women's relay as #3,
so that just leaves you with seven
more to work on over the next
decade. I'm sure T&T's athletes won't
leave him hanging.
In the world of Formula 1 racing, where millions are
spent with nary a blink to shave off even less time than it
takes to actually blink, it's sad that something as mun-
dane as a tyre blowout would cost a man a win.
Mercedes, who seem to be going from strength to
strength of late, had another front-row lockout for the
team in qualifying at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Nico Rosberg sat next to Lewis Hamilton, who took pole
position by almost half a second after a blistering lap.
Hamilton led the race from Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel
and Rosberg in the early stages, before becoming the first
driver to suffer a left-rear tyre blow-out on the Wellington
Straight on the eighth lap. Two laps later and Ferrari's Fe-
lipe Massa suffered the same failure before Toro Rosso's
Jean-Eric Vergne made it a hat-trick of blowouts on lap 15.
McLaren's Sergio Perez was the final driver to suffer a
blow-out, this time on the 46th lap.
Pirelli had hoped to change the internal structure of its
tyres from a steel belt to one made of kevlar from the
Canadian Grand Prix to try and eradicate the delamination
issues that occurred in the opening few races. But Force
India, Lotus and Ferrari were reluctant to accept the modi-
fication, which needed unanimous approval, amid con-
cerns that the change to the tyres could affect their
Expecting a report that should have been delivered by
mid-week, it looks as though teams will do an about turn
on the tyre issue before this weekend's trip to Germany.
Hamilton's old team, McLaren, had another disappoint-
ing race; Jenson Button was in the fight for points when
the second safety car went in, but slumped dramatically
from seventh in line behind it to a bitterly disappointing
13th place by the finish.
Despite the obvious disappointment, the Briton was
calm and hopeful: "The team and Nico won, and we got
some good points. We are second in the constructors'
championship now, which is a real big plus.
"I am grateful I could come back through the field and
get the points that I did. We are improving.
"I am just trying to stay within shooting distance and
stay within the fight. That is all I am focusing on at the mo-
Hamilton has yet to win a race this year, but with Mer-
cedes' form having stepped up recently he is convinced his
moment will come soon.
"I look forward to the next races and I hope we can do
something positive. I am sure at some stage my time will
The result closes up the fight for the championship. Vet-
tel still leads on 132 points, but Alonso closes with 111 from
Raikkonen - whose 25th consecutive points finish saw him
break Michael Schumacher's record - on 98, then Hamilton
on 89, Webber on 87 and Rosberg on 82.
In the constructors' stakes, Red Bull have 219 to Mer-
cedes' 171, Ferrari's 168, Lotus's 124, Force India's 59 and
LET'S KEEP IT SIMPLE:
I LOVE MY READERS.
I GIVE YOU FREE STUFF.
SIMPLE ENOUGH, RIGHT?
Holding the Confederations Cup skipper Thiago Silva's boyish looks define this Brazil team,
as he shares honours with teammates Lucas Moura, left, golden boot winner Neymar, right,
and Fred, who had two goals in the Final against Spain.
Nothing by rim for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the
British Grand Prix. Despite the blowout occurring on the exit
of the pit lane, and driving a full lap on three wheels, Hamil-
ton still got fourth place.
The man behind the 8-ball, Brian
Lewis, says he wants T&T to have
10 Olympic gold medals by the next
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