Sports Spotlight

H.G. Helps
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

What a way to start!


WHAT a way to start the Shell Caribbean Cup finals.

A flood of goals greeted the thousands of Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, St. Vincent and
the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, and Jamaican supporters who witnessed the start of the 1990 finals at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Host country, Trinidad and Tobago, all but guaranteed the organizers good crowds for the remainder of the competition with an acceptable performance before a vociferous football-crazy crowd.


After watching Martinique and Barbados settle to a draw in the opening group 'B' game, the local team, although banging in four goals against Grenada by half time in their group. 'A' match, and adding another in the first five minutes of the second half, were made to look far too good.

There was no semblance of effective marking by the Grenadians, who committed the double
sin of allowing the Caribbean kings too much room to do as they liked with the ball.

Added to the losers' woes, their custodian Godfrey Williams must have been concentrating
on the local netball team in training on the other side of the stadium.

Williams lacked the basics of a good goalkeeper. He was doing precious little in terms of positioning, and his anticipation was way below what his coach expected of him.


This is not an attempt to take anything away from Trinidad and Tobago. Some, especially Miami-based forward, Peter Alfred, who scored twice and helped with another. Larry Joseph, who also had a couple, Paul Elliot-Allen, and the dreadlocked Brian Williams were outstanding.

It is good that Jamaica are not solely concentrating on beating Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday, but on the immediate task at hand — getting past Grenada on Tuesday, even if not in as prolific a fashion as the 'Trinis'.

Not one member of the Jamaica squad feel they cannot beat Grenada, based on what they saw on Sunday.

It is also welcome, from a Jamaican point of view, that at no time during the Trinidad and
Tobago-Grenada match did any member of the Jamaica Squad appear apprehensive as regards the prospect of beating the oil-rich republic, on Thursday.


They gave jokes all the way through the match; made mental notes of what was happening on the field; spoke about Reggae Sunsplash and the DJ clash between Ninja Man and Shabba Ranks, and made themselves very comfortable — Lennie Hyde and Donovan Panton slipping off their shirts, as the sweltering heat, which replaced days of rain, took its toll.

Based on what I have seen, Jamaica can beat both Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, considering the available talent.


However, it is hoped that they will not 'freeze' as they did against Guadeloupe in Guadeloupe because they will not be twice lucky.

The stage has been set for an exciting, breath-taking, and successful competition.

A colourful opening ceremony, featuring the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment Band, Calypsonian 'Protector', top entertainer 'Prowler" and the best part of all — the dancing of 16 beautiful Trinidad and Tobago girls, immaculately clad in red and gold shorts suits and armed with footballs, laid the foundation for further sumptous servings of Trinidad's hospitality.

In the days ahead, all the footballers of the participating countries will be tense as they go for the region's most prized football treasure.


Already the competition is serving a very useful purpose. It is bringing to the forefront teams
which were never seriously considered, and serves to bridge the cultural gap between Caribbean countries. New CONCACAF president, Trinidadian Austin 'Jack' Warner has called for the winners of the Shell Caribbean Cup to be rewarded in another way — be given an automatic berth to the Olympic Games, Pan Am Games or World Cup finals — a suggestion that should be seriously considered. If it is realized, then we would be a step closer to achieving the result and reward that this competition truly deserves.