J.F.A. Give Welcome Dinner For Trinidad Visitors

Date Published: 
1947-02-11
Source: 
Jamaica Gleaner
Page: 
7

THE VISITING football team from Trinidad was given a splendid welcome on Friday night last at a dinner by the Jamaica Football Association in the pavilion of the Kingston Cricket Club, Sabina Park, which was attended by close upon one hundred guests. Under the chairmanship of popular J.F.A. President, Mr. G. M. daCosta, J.P. the arrangements for the dinner which were carried through by an efficient Committee and the speeches which followed were typical of the spirit of the Football Association. It is now to be hoped that the success which the tour justly deserves will be made secure in so far as public support is concerned.

Dinner over, Mr. daCosta proposed the toast to the King, which was honoured.

Giving the toast to the health of the visitors, Mr. daCosta in a witty speech said on behalf of the Jamaica Football Association and almost every intelligent person in this community he bade the visitors a sincere welcome (applause). He conceived this as one of his great pleasures to be able to propose the toast, because he believed the visitors had come here rather in the role of missionaries to teach us a game which we had been playing now, according to the Football Association, for the last 25 years, and he hoped Jamaica would have a great deal to learn from them. It had taken us, continued Mr. daCosta, nine months to bring you here.

After the laughter which accompanied an observation by a guest that such a remark was pregnant with ideas, had subsided and Mr. daCosta's comment on such a remark, he went on to say that it had taken Jamaica nine months to bring them here after an absence of nine years.

EFFICIENT COACHES

They of the Football Council and a band of willing energetic and efficient workers had been working strenuously for months, and it was only on Wednesday of that week that they definitely got the green light. As a matter of fact it looked as if Mr. James (from Trinidad) was going to have an apoplectic fit when Jamaica were not quick with their reply, (laughter). They were preparing to meet Trinidad, and engaged the services months ago of

TWO EFFICIENT COACHES

in Major Allen and Mr. Gordon Partridge, and he believed that Trinidad, even with the assistance of their professional English coach would find Jamaica having slightly the edge on them in this matter (laughter) because not only was Major Allen coach of the Jamaica team but he was the captain, (hear, hear).

Mr. daCosta paid a tribute to the youngsters who were representing Jamaica, saying a great many people lived long lives and never represented the island in anything. The boys had sacrificed a great deal of time in giving themselves up to the orders of their coaches, and in their physical training and he thanked them very much on behalf of the Football
Association for the great interest they had taken in improving their football and fitting themselves to represent their island home (hear, hear).

To the gentlemen from Trinidad he would say that we in Jamaica had a rather enviable reputation—having heard so much criticism of it that was not adverse (laughter) for hospitality, and we were going to exercise it and hand it out to, the visitors to the largest possible extent that will be allowed by their manager and captain and secretary (applause).

He went on to tell the visitors that their hosts intended to meander with them through the country-side and take them to places popular with visitors. He talked about the natural and other beauties of Jamaica, of the accommodation arranged for the visitors, and went on to say the reason why Jamaica had not extended an invitation during the nine years was because with the drain on our man-power for war service we did not think we were up to standard to take on such task.

Now we feel we are ready, continued the President, who went on in his subtle humorous manner to say he envisaged the visitors in difficulty with our All Schools team, in the opening game, the St. George's Old-Boys on Monday, and the heavy artillery in our new army, under Major Allen, the first of which would be on Wednesday.

GOOD WOES

Mr. daCosta commented on the value of professional coaching as he had seen it in the Costa Rica and Colombia teams at the recent Olympic Games in Barranquilla, and said, thanks to the good work of the coaches here had he not known the boys of our own team personally, seeing them at play upon his return from Barranquilla he would have sworn it was the Costa Rica or Colombia team he was seeing in action. (hear, hear). He was exceedingly sorry the President of the Trinidad Football Association did not accompany the side. This of course did not mean that the joy in having the other officials was in any way lessened, but he said so because their President had given us a shield to be competed for whenever an over-sea's side visited this country. The Jamaica Council had decided that if Trinidad won they would give them a miniature of the shield, but even so, the order for such miniature had not been issued yet (laughter).

He wanted the visitors to believe they were among friends and that Jamaica's great anxiety was to see that they had a perfectly happy time here (applause).

He would like to say that in Mr. Prior Jones who had come as the captain of the Trinidad side it was a great compliment to a man's way of living that after 10 years he was the only survivor of the side (laughter and applause). May I say sire, continued Mr. daCosta, that if our youngsters—it is too late now for me to attempt it—could follow in your footsteps in 10 years we would have a side that could beat a combined West Indies side (laughter and applause).

Turning to Mr. Victor Richardson, the manager of the team, Mr. daCosta assured him of every co-operation in Jamaica such as would make easy his task. To Mr. Eric James, the Secretary of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association he said in such an office he had come with certain responsibilities to the Jamaica Football Association and his own team. But he could assure him there was no necessity for him to take his duties too seriously, because they would held him all they could. They would see that there was no revolt against him (laughter) and that everything that could be done for his side would be done. The last manager was a perfectly delightful person (hear, hear), and he thought that i his case the word manager was a misnomer.

He (Mr. daCosta) went as chief manager of a team to Barranquilla recently and after being there for half an hour he found he was [illegible] (laughter).

A POPULAR TRIO

Mr. daCosta drew rounds of applause upon his mentioning the names of Jeffrey Stollmeyer, Gerald Gomez, and Andrew Ganteaume, all of whom (with Prior Jones) came to Jamaica last summer with the cricket team, and who, each in his way had won appreciation of spectators
and others. He was pleased to know, and they all would be, that Gomez was recently elected captain of Queen's Park Cricket Club. He congratulated him (applause). In closing Mr. daCosta assured the visitors that they were very welcome as guests of the Football Association to the shores of Jamaica, and that Jamaica would do everything to make their stay enjoyable (applause).

THE MANAGER REPLIES

Mr. Richardson said on behalf of the Trinidad Amateur Football Association and the people of Trinidad he thanked Mr. daCosta and the gathering most sincerely for their very kind and cordial welcome. When the invitation was received in Trinidad they knew it was not merely a football tournament being proposed but an exchange of matches in football which was based on the goodwill of the two countries, and it was in that spirit that they had come here (applause).

They (the visitors) expected their boys to do of their very best, and felt sure the boys of the Jamaica teams would do the same, but win or lose they knew the game was the thing (applause). Their boys had just completed their football season and they were in quite good condition. He was honoured to be their manager and also pleased, because he had seen them play football.

He had had charge of their matches, and he thought a better combination of sportsmen could not be found in Trinidad at the present time (applause). As long as the games were not going to be jeopardised by the entertainment promised by the President of the Jamaica
Football Association they would be permitted to participate (hear, hear). Words were inadequate to express his appreciation of this very hearty welcome, said Mr Richardson. "We
thank you most sincerely" (applause).

SKIPPER'S SPEECH

Mr. Prior Jones said he too thanked the gathering for their very warm welcome. Mr. daCosta had referred to the hot competition they would be up against, but when they arrived at the airport that afternoon the Health Authority there put thermometers in their mouths, and it was discovered that there was need for more mercury—as their boys too were, hot (laughter). They were unwilling to accept too much of our hospitality, because when the cricket side was here last year and when he also was here in 1935 Trinidad received at the hands of Jamaica, treatment which would be long remembered as characteristic of the good sense and hospitality of Jamaica.

Mr. Jones went on to caution that they could put their manager Mr. Richardson in the halfback line, if necessity arose, and their secretary to place over the ball (applause). He added that the brothers of Winn and Burnett were here in 1935, and still cherished pleasant memories of that visit. He would not detain them any longer, remembering as he did an old Italian Proverb which said: "It is better to do well than say well;" but he would remind his team of the Kingston Cricket Club's motto—"The game; not the reward," (applause).

SECRETARY

Mr. Jones said he could assure them that when he left his home that morning he was prepared to stand one ordeal, the trip on the plane. He did not expect he would have had to face another, standing before a gathering of the kind. His job was not speech making, but letter writing and sending cables and possibly having apoplectic fits (laughter). He was very pleased of the cordial welcome extended to him and his Association. He had had the honour to travel with the Trinidad team to Barbados, and to British Guiana, and he had learnt a lesson at each place, so he had come here expecting to be taught something. However, he hoped that when he left Jamaica he would carry with him pleasant recollections of his associations with the Jamaica Football Association (applause).

Mr. daCosta here extended thanks to the members of the press present. He expressed sincere and grateful thanks for the considerable publicity given them for the visit of the Trinidad team, and requested the press representatives to convey this appreciation to their respective Managing Directors (applause). He went on to welcome Mr. Samuel and thank him for courtesies, and to say how greatly the Football Association appreciated the kind hospitality the Kingston Club had always extended to the Association. He would extend this appreciation through the president of the Club, Mr. L. V. D. Samuel (applause). They appreciated it the more for at great inconvenience to their own members they had thrown open their Club and pavilion for the use of the visitors. He hoped they would regard this as a gesture of appreciation of sportsmen (applause).

THE JAMAICA CAPTAIN

Major Allen, called upon by the chairman to speak, joined in welcoming the team and assured them that the public were looking forward to some enjoyable games.

The Jamaica team would do its utmost to give the visitors a good game and he was sure each side would have equal enjoyment in playing the other. He hoped the visitors would enjoy themselves and find the football worth playing (applause).

Mr. L. V. D. Samuel said Mr. daCosta having asked him to say a few words he would say he did not think he should have been singled out for thanks as the Committee of the Kingston
Cricket Club one and all without exception freely welcomed the advent of the Trinidad team here, and it was their joy and delight to know that all the matches would be played at Sabina Park. He certainly was in favour of these inter-colony contests. It was a binding together in sport and in sympathies of the peoples of these waters, and win or lose they knew they were playing with all their friends in the West Indies (applause). Whether Jamaica
won or Trinidad won they knew they would enjoy excellent games and that friendships would be cemented by the contests (applause). On behalf of the Kingston Club he joined in welcoming the visitors (applause).

Guests included members of the Trinidad team and of the Jamaica team; also Messrs. A. D. Soutar, H. N. Walker, Douglas Fletcher, T. Newton Willoughby, Jack Campbell, C. C. Passailaigue, E. D. Matthews, Vin Sasso, Paul Chevannes, Harold Brown, Rev. Fr. Leo Butler, S.J., Dr. Peat, Dr. Lenny Arnold, Messrs. D. P. Lacy, J. M. Groves, Deputy Mayor T. N. Duval, Messrs. K. Kinkead, Gordon Partridge, E. A. and A. F. Rae, H. Edwards, C. A. Jack Anderson, J. B. L. Taylor, Ivan Levy, and many others.