Everybody was brimming with confidence, the fans that is, and both the local 20,000 odd people and about 20, yes twenty five Honduras. All dressed in their warrior gear.
It was always going to be an uphill battle. No yorke, the heart of the T & T midfield. No Birchill the tireless work horse and engine room. Both out along with 1st choice keeper Ince due to FIFA suspensions.
The teams were announced, and as the names were called a loud cheer for each T & T player, until the name Stern John. A collective boo resonated from the entire stadium. Trinis have a memory. "Is he fault, we eh win the last match." "He throw away the penalty". Shouted an angry fan. "Yes, and he always offside", yelled another. "He is the offside specialist", the nuts man added. As a say nuts man, it was the same nuts man from the Sando Ferry. In the same outfit too. Like is ah nuts uniform.
The substitutes names were called, and the names of Kenwin Jones and believe it or not Russell 40 year old magician to a rousing cheer. "Latas must be they, if it eh have no Yorke Latas must play". A forceful yell came from this petit well painted lady. It had more women then men, either the men have no money to come football, or they in jail. I didn't mind one bit. Surrounded by Trini beauties is never a bad thing.
The game was off, with Stern John and Scotland upfront, you could quickly see that midfield rookie Densil Teoball was no where near the likes of Yorke and Birchill. The tactics employed by T & T coach Francesco Maturin was not going to plan. The ball was frequently lost in a clutter of midfielders, without a sense of direction and leadership. Inspiration at times came from Carlos Edwards, T & T giant on the flanks. With the clutter the Soca Warriors did not have many chances, but Jason Scotland did get to practice his signature turn and shoot, all being off target and never a worrisome bother to the Honduras goalie.
As the second half began the T & T crowd was stunned into silence as a Honduran corner slipped passed the T & T goalie Jan Michael Williams for a 1-0 advantage. Dead silence in the stadium now? No not quite as the 25 Honduran fans were drowning out 20,000 Trinidad and Tobago fans. Even the talkative nuts man was quiet.
Substitutions Trinidad and Tobago Latas on for Teo bald, Kenwin Jones on for Scotland.
This I say even to my own disbelief. A 40 year old man enters the game for Trinidad and Tobago and immediately the tempo changes, Hondurans are confused as to where he passed and with a quick release Jones is now a potent threat. The Honduras quickly reassess and makes a couple substitutions of their own, and an attempt is made to muzzle the Trinidad and Tobago number 10 with limited success and the Honduras are eaten all over the midfield by the magician Russel Latapy. One player approached him and in a split second, the ball went over his head, as Latas rounded him. He stood in disbelief, as the crowd roared their approval.
"Oh Gaud Latas, have mercy', chuckled the beer vendor as sales from nuts to water grinded to a halt. Still no goals yet and time was running out, and the Honduras defending like ants. The crowd grew restless, the Honduran fans were suddenly sounding annoying. Carlos Edwards waved his hands to the crowd to make some noise. The slow chat began, "O woe o woe o woe." "T & T we want ah goal", the sound of the Hondurans disappeared and the pressure was telling on the field. A sense of urgency gripped the fans as well as the players. Then, I don't know how it happened, but the ball was kicked into the Honduran net. The goalie held it. "That over the over the line" yelled a fan. Soon the entire Hasley Crawford stadium erupted except for the 25 Honduran fans and their team and staff off course. Up to now, I eh even know who score the goal, the announcer didn't even say. It was the 89th minute. With a collective sigh of relief the whistle was blown very shortly afterwards and soon we knew that Hondouras was silenced by 19 year old Khaleem Hyland.
This blasted team like the frigging West Indies cricket team."If they have to win or draw, they must make yuh heart beat fast. They cyar do it comfortable at all", shouted a lady. The game now over, two points from two games, and things looking shaky.
Were you at the game? Tell us how you saw it by commenting below.
Soca Warrior Supporters - photo Monique Walker GreenTnT.org
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