North South and a slow coach in the slush

Ruthven Baptiste
Date Published: 

SATURDAY, July 15, when North met South was wet and slushy. In view of the depression that sours the nation in every sphere of its life one expected that the game would have matched the slushy ground conditions.

Instead the game was brisk and keenly contested with the southerners unlucky to lose the match 2—1.

Both teams had highly efficient defences with the exception of the brawny Winston Phillips, the North and Defence Force left back. His positioning in the defence was woefully substandard. He was so easily drawn from his defence and so easily evaded one speculated on the efficiency of Clibert Lennard (the national and south right winger) in that he did not make better use of Phillips blunderings.

Whenever he got the advantage over Phillips he invariably held on to the ball too long allowing Phillips to recover. Lennard takes too long to bring a ball under control. What appears as a beautiful solo run from Lennard is really a struggle to bring the ball under control.

Unlike Lennard, Dick Furlong, probably the most intelligent forward in the country today with the possible exception of Knobby Phillips, capitalised on a Phillips blunder and engineered South's equaliser. More beautiful than Brewster's half volley was Furlonge's well placed "dump." He placed it wide enought ot tempt Figeroux (the north goalkeeper) into running out to intercept and caught him "in no man's land" with Figeroux drawn from his goal Brewster volleyed home into an open goal.

To prove his first dump was no fluke he made the same play again only to see one of his colleagues boot the ball ingloriously over the bar.

South's mistake, however, was that they did not concentrate their attack on the right wing instead of the left where Brewster was playing. In the second half, one expected that Phillips would have been replaced by Charlie Spooner and that Ron La Forest would have replaced Morgan in the half line. Instead Spooner replaced Teixeira playing at left back and La Forest came in for Calvin Lewis, an enterprising and imaginative player from East Trinidad. Here one could take issue with Sedley Joseph the north coach and by that fact the national coach.

Sedley is the former Maple and Trinidad captain. His style is patterned after the English Alf Ramseyian to be more exact. He is a consistent, steady, though not enterprising player. His positioning and distribution were impeccable and he had the knack of always doing the simple things right.

Yet I am afraid that as coach he will attempt to place consistency above creativity. Like Ramsey he seems to be heading in the direction of looking for players to fit his conception of the game rather than devising a plan to suit our most talented players.

And when he took off Calvin Lewis instead of Morgan whose style is similar to his, his policy was evident. Trinidad's football will continue to be the mundane thing it is if creativity is sacrificed for competent mediocrity. After all the Brazilians in the last World Cup showed how much creativity outdistances pedestrianism on the football field.