PORT OF SPAIN, May 14, CANA
TRINIDAD and Tobago's Under 18 football team 'gave the country a psychological lift' by qualifying for the World Youth Cup in Portugal next year, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Culture and Creative Arts, Jennifer Johnson, has said.
Johnson was part of the contingent that gave the triumphant team a heroes' welcome at the Piarco International Airport Sunday.
Trinidad and Tobago placed second in the CONCACAF Juvenile Championships in Guatemala — the series was won by Mexico — and so qualified for the World Youth Cup in Portugal.
"We will continue to give support to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association. We will always be behind you. We will support you as much as we can. You are the future and we are proud of you." Johnson said.
"Yours is the kind of effort which gives the country a psychological lift, just as there was dejection on November 19, the country is now proud of you."
Last year, the twin-island republic failed in its bid to become the smallest nation at the World Cup Finals in Italy, losing 1-0 to the United States.
The Trinidadians were led to victory in the final encounter against host Guatemala by the Dwight Yorke, their gifted captain and professional player with the English First Division team Aston Villa.
Yorke scored both goals in the decisive match against Guatemala as Trinidad and Tobago became the first English speaking Caribbean team to qualify for any World Cup tournament.
Haiti was the only other Caribbean country to make it to a premier world soccer event by edging Trinidad and Tobago's senior national in 1973. They participated in the 1974 World Cup held in West Germany.