Free Header by Alvin Corneal

Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy! What an uproar both these talented soccer stars have created in the Caribbean. When it is not the local administrators and the local media shooting their mouths off about their lack of gratitude, it is the JFF president cancelling a previously arranged game against Trinidad, citing the unavailability of the two players as the reason. It is not unnatural for Trinis to criticise their  superstars, hoping that the comments will somehow, pull the victims down a notch or two.

Maybe we should take a step back and try to understand a few factors which can help us all to act in the interest of the game in T&T . The first thing that we need to recognise is that T&T needs the services of all its outstanding players in order to make it to the World Cup finals Korea/Japan. These two are the most experienced and can certainly form the base upon which a truly formidable team can be built.

No doubt, the availability of the stars is based upon the attitude of their clubs and the time of year. Both have been burnt in the past, when they have left their clubs, Dwight with Aston Villa and Russell with Boavista, to play for T&T in a friendly. The result was that they lost their places in the starting teams and by extension, their bonuses for the matches that they were off the field.

It is easy for the administrators to sit in Port of spain and speak about lack of patriotism and love for country, but maybe they should try to get into the positions in which these players are placed. Its not like the clubs will comfortably play without these players. We are not talking about Rougier, or Marcelle, Nixon,or one of the other foreign based players.

Without being disrespectful to these lads, they are not even regular starters in their teams, hence the reason why they do not have a problem leaving for a few days. Yes, I admit that sometimes, the two super stars can make an effort, but I think that these arrangements must be made in good faith between the clubs and the TTFF, whereby the dates for friendlies could be satisfactory to both parties.

In that way the players will know well in advance that the clubs have given support. This problem does not apply to T&T alone. Brazil and Germany are forever having to play without their stars in friendlies. Actually, Brazil had to travel to Mexico for the Confederations Cup without Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Aldair, Cafu, Rivaldo and others. And this was a FIFA tournament, mind you.

Instead of the unnecessary criticism thrown at the players, would it not be more positive to use their success to motivate the local professionals, and expose them to the spots in the national team.

While I do respect the ability of the two stars, I am also aware that there is some enormous talent around. Not only Stern John and Ansil Elcock, but the local boys, Arnold Dwarika, Nigel Pierre, Kerwin Jemmot, Hector Sam, and there are also names like Brent Rahim, Darin Lewis, Kelvin Jack,
Gary Glasgow, Marvin Raeburn and Jason Duncan, who may shock those who have not seen them in recent times.

It is sad that the people who are criticising do not even know the true talent of our country. They sit in offices and operate on hearsay, while some of these lads are burning the fields abroad. Maybe we do not realise that we could be our biggest opponents for the upcoming world cup qualifying series. It is a great pity that a small talented nation of soccer players cannot be spared the venom of its own people. We are so good at searching for things or persons to criticise. No wonder why coaches do not last long in our society.

Its because the so called experts who have the reigns in their hands are unfortunately void of sufficient knowledge of the game, but they are prepared to use their positions whether in administration or in the media to project their own images. the next two years can either take us further than we have ever been in the sport, or it can send us to an irreversible depth which will take decades to repair.

We can all play a role in the progress of the sport in our country, but our search must be for solutions and certainly not problems.