World Cup Football: Tough Hurdle In Devil's Isle

Author: 
Earl Best
Date Published: 
1976-12-19
Source: 
Tapia
Page: 
11

THE "farewell" match between the NSL Champions Defence Force and our National Team now in Cayenne did not come off as scheduled. So there is little new information on which to base a first-hand speculation about the outcome of Saturday's game.

The selector Coach Vidale has made three changes to his Squad. Renwick Williams has come in for Gordon Husbands, Anthony Douglas for Curtis Murrell and Ron LaForest for Godfrey Harris.

None of these three is likely to be in the starting line-up though one does feel that LaForest should displace David. However, such a to-do was made when Steve failed to fly in from the USA, that it is difficult to believe he'll be left out in the end.

Williams' inclusion is neither here nor there; but the presence of Douglas may not be in the best interests of the team. And then I fear that the old commess over amateurs and professionals may rear its ugly head again, ayoing the benefits of the lengthy sojourn in "camp".

However, if Douglas does not play, there is unlikely to be much of a problem. For me, therefore, the best starting line-up will show two changes from last time. Spann will be retained ahead of Carpette, LaForest in for David.

WE MUST SCORE FIRST

Still, the decisive factor is unlikely to be composition of the teams. Remember, we scored once and held on for dear life thereafter in the game in Paramaribo. At the Oval, we hit twice and missed twice in a display generally agreed to have been out best in many a long year.

A lot therefore depends on morale, on the tonic we can take on the plane by way of vocal home support, and on the number of patois-speaking Guyanese we can win to the Calypso way.

Above all, we must go all out to score, if not early, at least first. Almost all depends on seizing the initiative and never relinquishing it thereafter.

The opposition is buoyed by the knowledge that they scored twice in Port-of-Spain when all the odds were long against them. Besides, they will be bolstered by a huge support of nationals who will be bussing to Devil's Island; and then they are probably better knit that we, by virtue of longer association in the Surinam Team.

Presumably, they are psychologically better prepared too. Who knows how much our team-spirit has been affected by the reported dissension over participation in the end-of-season NSL games plus the uncertainty over flight arrangements?

It is not, then, going to be an easy hurdle. But win or lose, we shall have done well enough to encourage us to do better next time around.