Four years ago, as Trinidad and Tobago stood at the cusp of a Germany 2006 World Cup place, former “Strike Squad” star midfielder Kerry Jamerson was forced to negotiate with scalpers outside the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain for the chance to see a vital qualifier against Guatemala.
Jamerson’s own successive lethal long-ranged strikes against Guatemala, 16 years earlier, remain defining moments of Trinidad and Tobago football. But there was nothing in place to make the ex-Defence Force and Arima United stand-out feel like a part of the national football family.
Last month, new Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee challenged Wired868 to create a shortlist of former national heroes who, owing to their exemplary service for country, should never have to pay or receive a ‘a favour’ to see the “Soca Warriors” play.
These players, in my estimate, have exemplified our national watchwords: Together we aspire, together we achieve. They have dug deep to represent Trinidad and Tobago with pride against bigger nations with more resources.
Should the TTFA offer then a tangible reward, it may go further than a pat on the back. It might also inspire the next generation of players by showing the courtesy and respect that is guaranteed if they succeed. And it potentially ensures the continued emotional involvement of our best past talent in football, which can be useful for the transference of knowledge from one generation to the next.
My proposal is a two-tiered system that recognises players who were part of special teams as well as those who stood out for their length of service. The selected players will receive passes for all international football games and the option to purchase up to four tickets per game.
I consider those special teams to be our first World Cup team from the 1966 qualifiers, the players from our 1974 campaign, the unforgettable Strike Squad and, of course, or team of 2006.
This would include but not necessarily be limited to the following players (some are now deceased but I include their names out of respect for their legacy):
1966 WCQ Team: Andy Aleong, Gerry Brown, Clement Clarke, Alvin Corneal, Tyrone de la Bastide, Aldwyn Ferguson, Ken Furlonge, Victor Gamaldo, Jeff Gellineau, Doyle Griffith, Sedley Joseph, Lincoln Phillips, Pat Small, Bobby Sookram.
1974 WCQ Team: Warren Archibald, Sydney Augustine, Kelvin Barclay, Leo Brewster, Leon Carpette, Wilfred Cave, Everald “Gally” Cummings, Steve David, Anthony Douglas, Selris Figaro, Gerald Figeroux, Desmond Headley, Henry Dennie, Steve Khan, Victor McGill, Peter Mitchell, Raymond Moraldo, Dennis Morgan, Selwyn Murren, Devonish Paul, Winston Phillips, Raymond Roberts, Lawrence Rondon, Leroy Spann, Russell Tesheira.
1990 WCQ Team: Maurice Alibey, Earl Carter, Hutson Charles, Richard Chinapoo, Anton Corneal, Paul Elliot-Allen, Marvin Faustin, Dexter Francis, Kerry Jamerson, Philbert Jones, Ron La Forest, Russell Latapy, Floyd Lawrence, Dexter Lee, Leonson Lewis, Errol Lovell, Michael Maurice, Clayton Morris, Marlon Morris, Ricky Nelson, Dexter Skeene, Leroy Spann, Hayden Waterman, Geoffrey Wharton-Lake, Brian Williams, Dwight Yorke.
2006 WCQ Team (excluding one-cap players): Marvin Andrews, Chris Birchall, Andre Boucaud, Atiba Charles, Ian Cox, Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Cornell Glen, Cyd Gray, Shaka Hislop, Clayton Ince, Kelvin Jack, Kenwyne Jones, Avery John, Stern John, Carlos Edwards, Russell Latapy, Dennis Lawrence, Errol McFarlane, Jerren Nixon, Anton Pierre, Brent Rahim, Marlon Rojas, Anthony Rougier, Hector Sam, Collin Samuel, Brent Sancho, Jason Scotland, Scott Sealy, Silvio Spann, Densill Theobald, Aurtis Whitley, Evans Wise, Dwight Yorke.
This brings us to a total of 96 players—bearing in mind that Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy and Leroy Spann represented two special teams each.
For length of service, I suggest 50 full international caps (which excludes games against clubs or non-FIFA recognised nations) as the mark of a player who has made himself synonymous with a particular era of the local game.
By my records, the Trinidad and Tobago players who qualify that were not already listed are: Lyndon Andrews, Kerry Baptiste, Ansil Elcock, Stokely Mason, David Nakhid, Nigel Pierre, Keyeno Thomas, Dale Saunders and 2013 Gold Cup players Jan-Michael Williams and Keon Daniel.
So, roughly 106 of the 22,000 available seats at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain should be available for past players. I doubt the TTFA can argue that this would affect the organisation financially. There is usually plenty of space anyway and it would only mean that a few “band-waggonists” are denied room when the Warriors are on a successful run.
The only present players likely to join this elite club in the near future are 2013 Gold Cup defender Seon Power who has 40 and midfielder Clyde Leon has 46 caps at the moment although he has not been selected this year. These are the ilk of players that merit special consideration.
Technical staff members should not be left out although changes have been so frequent in this department that few qualify through length of service.
Bertille St Clair is the sole coach in almost two decades to have 50 games on the bench and, even then, he only got his half century when his two stints at the helm where combined. Obviously the staffs of Leo Beenhakker and Cummings qualify due to their involvement with special teams.
It brings us to just over 120 persons who Wired868 believes are worthy of tangible recognition from the TTFA. Over to you, Tim Kee.
Editor’s note: Do you agree with our list and the reason behind it? Our count for full caps does not include games against non-FIFA nations (like Guadeloupe and Martinique) or national youth or clubs teams.
Thus far, the TTFA has not implemented this plan for home games against New Zealand and Jamaica although the football body said a batch of tickets were given to the Veterans’ Association and the Strike Squad for its last home match.
You are right Lasana. Mortality rates will eat into the incremental amount of players. But there will be an increase and an opportunity cost to SPORTT. To provide the benefit to the players yet not being a burden to SPORTT maybe the Football Federation can pick up the cost of tickets.
Over the last three decades, the Hasely Crawford Stadium has been filled on less than a handful of occasions and historical evidence suggests that it only gets sold out every 16 years or so. Otherwise, there are somewhere between 7,000 and 17,000 empty seats.
Even 300 complimentary seats will not scratch that itch. Rather than our past players and administrators being a burden, putting more people in seats might actually excite the corporate sponsors when they turn out with their free tickets to see the game.
We haven’t considered the pluses either. Apart from being a respectful gesture for persons who have sacrificed years or service, having former top level players and administrators at close quarters creates an better opportunity for a transference of knowledge from one generation to the next and gives present players and administrators some feeling that there is a value to their work and they will not be forgotten.
I’m sure there are better ways to show that appreciation but I don’t see the cons outweighing the pros here. And I’m not convinced that even tripling the number of tickets given away to our top past performers has the downside that you are suggesting.
I will have to correct you Beaver, Stephon Campbell and Jamal Juma Clarence have also scored for T&T in a World Cup Match.
Gary, I must have had too much punch de creme. Of course you are right about Stephan Campbell and Juma Clarence… But how could I have forgotten Nkosi Blackman’s wonder-goal against Croatia in the 2001 Under-17 World Cup right here in Trinidad?! Jerol Forbes is a World Cup scorer as well. He scored against Brazil in the 2001 U-17 World Cup.
It sounds good on paper and mathematically and economically 106 free tickets don’t sound like much. However, consider 20 years from now with the precedent set for national team members getting free tickets, the quantity will increase dramatically and continue into the future. So the thinking is flawed. Consider also that other countries do not follow this procedure.
Well Stan, I think Father Time would disagree with you. More than a few 1966 players will not be here to use their tickets in 20 years time. One would expect that quite a few 1974 players will not take up the offer in 20 years either.
Life is a cycle Stan. Not even footballers can hang around forever for the sake of collecting free tickets.
Also I can’t speak for how all nations honour their past players. But players of a particular standing will have no problem accessing a free ticket from many FAs just as they would at many clubs too. So, we are trying to establish some criteria for determining who those special players are.
This is just a suggestion though. Feel free to offer one if you think you have a better idea.
What about jean luc rochford the first and only player to score for trinidad and tobago in a world cup match.
That is a very interesting stat, Beaver. Someone suggested that the youth teams that qualify for World Cups should also be honoured. I think that is only right. It might not be in the same way… But certainly.
Inductees of the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Hall of Fame for football in this instance should qualify
Uncle Tim Kee better try his best and do not forget me ent. The greatest skills man with a ball that showed his skills on Nov 19th 1989 in the Stadium eh. When Blue Boy sang his song the following Carnival season and at the end of his song eh, Earl “Spiderman” Carter, Elliot Allen, Brian Williams, just to name a few came on the stage and started playing keep up with the ball I said to myself, but how come my good friend Tansley Thompson who was Blue Boy manager did not invite me to come and mash up the place with my skills. Blue Boy would have surely won the crown. Hehehehe. Them really good yes.
Now we see what blacklisting can do, even if we tell stories about him it will not be enough to explain, who had the privilege to see him play could testify to this, his name is Sammy Llewellyn
just ask Ron La Forest..
There was a team in I think 1974 that won a silver medal at the Pan American games. Consideration should be given to them. I agree with the inclusion of Leroy DeLeon, still one of the best players produced by T&T. He has given us a daughter to the National ladies team, and who knows his son may yet decide to represent T&T.
I think you have left out some very important players. What about Leroy De Leon,”Twinkle Toes” Brewster, Buggy Haynes etc????
I believe if you select people because they were in a national team or campaign, you would reach into a few hundred well. There were players like Lincoln Phillips, Gerald Figeroux, Kelvin Barclay, Earl Carter etc.
There are a few names on that list that I believe should not be there because too much persons may make the whole list seem “watered down”.
Just a matter of correction.. the correct name is “Henry Dennie”.
Thanks for the correction, Wayne. The list criteria is based on length of service with special dispensation given if the players were involved or helped create a historic team. Now several names you called are on the list so you didn’t go over it as carefully as you thought.
Brewster, Lincoln Phillips, Figeroux, Barclay and Carter are all there.
Leroy De Leon did much more for football than many on the list. And he said he always regrets not playing on the 1974 team. But he didn’t. There needs to be some criteria for selecting players. The TTFA is free to give De Leon a special pass and I acknowledge that he is one of our greatest ever players if not the greatest.
But I’m trying to set a criteria that is not subjective and doesn’t involve debate about which player was better than who.
So let me say thank you to Mr. Angus Eve for your contribution to the beautiful game in Trinidad and Tobago, to the countless times we cheered when you scored for this twin island nation, for the times you wore the red, white, and black with pride we the lovers of local football say again thank you.
WOW!!!!!! NO ANGUS EVE ON THAT LIST. I checked a dozen times to make sure it was not an optical illusion.
Hello Maurice. It was indeed an optical illusion. Angus Eve is listed in the the group of players that participated in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign. And even if he did not play in that, he would have qualified by having over 100 caps.
Excellent work Lasana. The request alone speaks volumes about the value we put on your craft. Keep it up.
The way this thing going I should speak up now. I’m sure I gave a few of these players and officials world class hair cuts before… Probably during a World Cup campaign too… Hey Jack taught me history in sixth form… Do I qualify? I think we should stick close to the script: NATIONAL FOOTBALL HEROES! The next thing we’ll see the man who drove d bus on that faithful day, November 19. Coincidentally I got married on that date, it would make a good anniversary present, and you know ah cyah come by meh self… So talk to Tim Kee for meh Lasana!
I believe Leroy De Leon should be included. He is argurably one of our best players. He excelled at school, club, pro & national levels.
playing amongst some of the most gifted TT
& international players of his era!
Wow…this is work well done.Tim Kee should have no hesitation here. The best seats in the house should be reserved for them and a guest each.
What about a player who has accomplished an exemplary feat, I am the 1st player to score a hattrick on debut for the National senior team, it was against. Dominica in. A Shell Carribbean Cup match at the Queen’s Park Oval in 1994
There should be some sort of recognition for individual landmarks as well. Good point. Perhaps the TTFA should consider launching a football museum.
Wow! As I was reading this, every time I thought you left out somebody, there they were! My only suggestion given the tone of the article would be to include a few NON-Trini Nationals like Stuart Charles & Terry Fenwick who between them have contributed to the National Football cause from the Bench (ie Technical Support) by their Coaching, over the past 13 years or so.
One notable omission was Leroy de Leon. He said that he refused a call-up for the 1974 team because he was owed a lot of money by the TTFA at the time. And I do not know whether he ever made 50 full international caps. Clint Marcelle also had a stretch as an international player but I cannot confirm whether he reached the 50-cap mark.
I think Stuart Charles-Fevrier and Terry Fenwick should be among a list for special recognition by the Pro League. That list should also include non-nationals like Earl Jean, Kendall Velox, Elijah Joseph and Charles Pollard.
Perhaps there could be a section called “outstanding contribution to T&T football by a non national” I would add to your list with Carey Harris who I believe has over 80 caps for Guyana and has been around the Pro League for a number of years. At age 37, this season he was Central F.C.’s player of the season and also coached one of their youth teams and the CFC ladies team.
Please help me to understand the logic in respect of including “non-nationals like Earl Jean, Kendall Velox, Elijah Joseph and Charles Pollard”.
Anbrat: The whole concept is to recognise contributions to T&T football. The names mentioned cannot be part of the T&T national team. But they have served T&T football domestically and therefore their services are worthy of recognition.
Anbrat, please re-read my comment. I said that Velox and Earl Jean and so on should be considered for awards from the Pro League. I never said from the TTFA. These are two separate issues.
Lasana,you sure opened a big ANTS NEST.