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If Pelé could play, who is Pappy? Best ‘oohs’ about Shiva Boys wonder goal in South final

In last week’s South Zone Intercol final, an SSFL midfield general scored a last-gasp “jaw-dropping” goal so audacious that for me it invited a comparison with the peerless Pelé. And this from a commentator who, in his most recent Wired868 offering, lamented the absence of genuine quality in the SSFL and dismissed the fare on offer as Sub-standard Stuff to frustrate Football Lovers.

Where Pelé missed, I told my good friend Ashford Jackman, “Pappy” scored. A Pelé junkie who scoffs at any suggestion that his eyes may have seen better, he was scandalised at my comparison.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College maestro Tyrel "Pappy" Emmanuel (right) tries to shake off Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Terrell Williams during the South Zone Intercol final at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on 18 November 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College maestro Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (right) tries to shake off Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Terrell Williams during the South Zone Intercol final at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on 18 November 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

But another good friend, Wired868 CEO and Editor-in-Chief Lasana Liburd, thinks “Pappy” has the talent to go very far—though not quite as far as God’s gift to football, Lionel “My Messiah” Messi.

Judge for yourself.

Shiva Boys’ Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel, who enjoyed a week-long visit to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium last year as part of the Digicel Kickstart Your Dream Experience, produced a goal that left him covered in temporary glory and made a complete “Pappy” show of the Presentation College (San Fernando) goalkeeper.

The 2016 Premier Division champions were 1-2 down with the end of regulation time two ticks and three tocs away. For the Presentation supporters—and, more importantly, for Jabari Gray, their custodian—the 89th minute sizzler that Nion Lammy put into the roof of Denzil Smith’s net had seemingly meant a well deserved revenge victory was in the bag.

We are the South Intercol champions; let the party begin!

It did, a moment later. But it was Shiva Boys who were celebrating a brilliantly executed golazo.

With one eye on the clock and the other presumably on the Pres posse playing themselves in front of the pavilion, Gray was pressing forward to participate in the partying. And under pressure to get his side back on terms, playmaker “Pappy” prepared himself to receive a short pass, put up a prayer and pulled the trigger from the half-line.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College maestro Tyrel "Pappy" Emmanuel (centre) tries to hold off Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielders Kareem Riley (left) and Terrell Williams during the South Zone Intercol final at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on 18 November 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College maestro Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (centre) tries to hold off Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielders Kareem Riley (left) and Terrell Williams during the South Zone Intercol final at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on 18 November 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Precision!

As the retreating Gray fought despairingly to give himself a chance to catch it, the ball arched over him and curled in just under the bar. Presentation 2, Shiva Boys 2.

Penalties!

“Pappy” would put away his penalty. But the pressure, plus the profligacy of the other Penal penalty takers and one fine save Gray produced, allowed the Presentation goalkeeper to avoid paying the penalty for his post-2-1 over-exuberance.

I have Jackman to thank for setting me right with regards to the custodian in the Brazil game I was thinking of. It was a 1970 World Cup group match against Czechoslovakia. The Czechs had scored first before Rivelino equalised with a direct free-kick. Just before half-time, Clodoaldo dispossessed a Czech attacker and the loose ball rolled into the centre circle in the Brazil half.

Spotting the custodian well off his line, Pelé ran a step or two into the circle and fired at goal. Surprised, the beaten goalkeeper never even got close enough to jump. But although under the height of the crossbar, the ball was about a foot wide of the near post.

Jackman also pointed me to the incident which had caused me to get my wires crossed.

In the 1970 semi-final between Brazil and Uruguay in Guadalajara, Mexico, the score was 1-1 in the 2nd half when the goalie mishit a goal-kick straight to Pelé, who stood some 40 yards from the goal just inside the opposition half. Pelé swivelled and hit a thunderous volley back at the keeper who had to make a low save to prevent the ball from ending up in the back of the net.

“Ah, yes!” I said, grateful. “I should have remembered.”

That was the game in which what should have been the icing on the cake of a wonderful goal ended with Pelé laughing at himself. The Brazilian wizard put a would-be simple tap-in wide of the far post of the unmanned goal.

In the Internet age, few genuine football fans would not have seen YouTube’s footage of the outrageous dummy that led to that unforgettable miss. But football fan or not, how many of us remember the name of the goalkeeper who, embarrassed before the watching world by the gifted Brazilian’s quick thinking, would later joke that he had “done enough to put Pelé off?”

As Pelé comes haring through to capitalise on an inspired Tostao through-pass, the goalkeeper races forward in the opposite direction to narrow the angle by confronting him at the edge of the area.

The quick-witted Brazilian number 10 who, many—not including Liburd—agree with Jackman, is the best player the world has ever seen feints to the left but declines to intercept the pass. Instead, he lets the ball run and runs round the back of the wrong-footed Uruguayan keeper to collect it at the right edge of the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy.

The goalkeeper’s embarrassing 1970 mistake did not cost Uruguay. And custodian Gray would also eventually ensure that his error did not cost Presentation San Fernando.

But first there was the embarrassment of single-handedly letting Shiva Boys back into the game, well, with a lot of single-footed help from “Pappy” actually.

Still, Gray will probably take heart from the fact that, YouTube age or not, relatively few people can tell you who is Ladislao “El Chiquito” Mazurkiewicz, the star of three consecutive World Cups for La Celeste, arguably best known for helping his nation to the semi-finals of the 1970 World Cup, where the world sports media adjudged him the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Despite standing just over 5ft 10in tall, Mazurkiewicz—who passed away three years ago—was considered one of the finest goalkeepers of his era by many of his peers, including the Soviet Union’s Lev Yashin and England’s Gordon Banks and Bobby Moore, who in 1966 captained his country to their only World Cup.

Photo: Uruguay goalkeeper Ladislao “El Chiquito” Mazurkiewicz (right) exchanges pleasantries with Brazil icon Pelé during the 1970 World Cup semifinals.
Photo: Uruguay goalkeeper Ladislao “El Chiquito” Mazurkiewicz (right) exchanges pleasantries with Brazil icon Pelé during the 1970 World Cup semifinals.

But Gray will also have to consider the fact that his name is considerably easier to get a grip on than the 12-letter, four-syllable Polish handle. And that to jog people’s memories 50 years from now, there’s no best-selling novel or blockbuster film called Fifty Shades of Mazurkiewicz. 

All in all, last week’s Mannie Ramjohn Stadium events reminded me of a scene in Cecil B De Mille’s The Ten Commandments and I see in them a potent pre-election portent.

When Pharoah tried to show Moses he had magic too, Charlton Heston’s staff, turned snake, gobbles up Yul Brynner’s high priests’ staffs, also turned snakes. Answered though it was, “Pappy’s” prayer—presumably to Shiva—wasn’t quite as powerful as Gray’s presumed plea to the god to whom the Presentation players presumably pray.

But just as I don’t expect Jackman and Liburd to agree on Pelé, Maradona and Messi or all parties to agree on “Pappy’s” potential, I don’t expect all the pollsters to agree with my interpretation. I’m preparing for possible protests, particularly from PP people and opposition politicians.

And pundits!

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-in captain Tyrel "Pappy" Emmanuel (right) takes on St Mary's College defender Nathan Harte during SSFL Premier Division action at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-in captain Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (right) takes on St Mary’s College defender Nathan Harte during SSFL Premier Division action at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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15 comments

    • Earl Best

      Is your “bad” the dictionary’s “bad” or is it the street’s “bad”? You have to be clear, son, clear so we know what you’re really saying.

  1. Against that level of opponent he is good but missing many attributes .

  2. Pappy has best digging up in the archives. I like it lol

  3. Good piece. Glad he had the chance to revisit his earlier opinion.

  4. So why is he not on the Soca Worries team eh, my greatest play in the universe started playing for his sweet country at the age of 17 yrs old eh. Them really good yes. hahhahaha

    • Lol. Your greatest player ever was a full professional player in Brazil at the age of 15! Pappy hasn’t even played Pro League football yet.

    • He has the talent eh. But he hasn’t been exposed to the type of competition he needs to push him into contention for a step up to international level football. And I’m talking about even international youth football!

    • Well if I remember well Prof Keith Look Loy, yourself and others some time ago were discussing the way of my Brazilians does do it with their football programs eh, with respect to their youth programs and at what age their players join their real professional teams so we really needs to put something in place for our future stars the same like Pappy,Che Benny who is also 15 yrs old and others eh or else we will continue going backwards while the other countries continues going forward eh Mr. Live Wire LOL

    • Sadly, yes. Benny is very talented boy. He is already among the best players in the schools game. It is up to him if he wants to start mastering a higher division next season. Or if he wants to stay at that level.
      There are teams that will allow him a compromise, so he can play some adult football but still keep his options open in terms of a scholarship or what have you.

    • I think that he have gotten scholarship offers already so hopefully he will be on to better things in the coming future.

    • Lasana Liburd whatever he does make sure he does not even accept a Roti from any team. Let’s talk off line

    • These boys that we think are ready….i hav seen dem allllllllll play..they are talented boys with potential….and thats allll…u can b a really good player and not b a national player….these boys athlethic gate has to opened up….they need strenght and speed…they need to understand 4ward thinking….prepare myself now..to b ready in 2 to 3yrs…..no 2 mths of school football cud prepare no kid fuh international level football……