A football team united a nation

Debra Ransome
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Trinidad and Tobago's year in review

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, December 25. Cana

IF ANYTHING overshadowed — for a while — the impact made by Trinidad and Tobago's economic adjustment programme, its International Monetary Fund aid package, and political developments, it was the national football team in its bid to qualify for the World Cup finals.

During a year of further economic woes, trade union muscle-flexing, and predictions of either a worsening economic situation or an economic turnaround, the football team's hopes of making it to Italy with the world's best were destroyed by a 1-0 loss to the United States here.

The November 19 match helped to unite the nation. Thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians wore red, the team's colour, sang football tunes and watched constant re-runs of football videos.

After the painful defeat, there was still a lot of sympathy for the "strike squad", but anger against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) over its handling of the finances of the match — specifically how many tickets were printed and how much money was raised on the "road to Italy".


Facing charges that the TTFA over-printed tickets and several people who had paid could not enter the crowded National Stadium to witness the game. TTFA secretary, Austin "Jack" Warner resigned.