Teenager trampled to death during football violence

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Santos in Trinidad

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, September 5:

A REPORTED DEATH, bottle-throwing, a teargas counter-attack and crowd pandemonium today marred the exhibition football match between Brazilian glamour team Santos and the Trinidad national squad here.

A crowd of more than 30,000 headed by Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Williams panicked when a section of the crowd seated in the same area from which bottles were thrown during the West Indies-England cricket Test in 1960, threw a number of bottles onto the onto the playing area. They were displaying annoyance because of the delay of the start of play.

Police retaliated by firing teargas pellets into the crowd and in the pandemonium one teenaged lad was trampled to death and many were injured. One police corporal lost an eye. He was struck by a flying bottle.

Panicking spectators, affected by tear-gas, invaded the pavilion, while others broke down gates or scaled walls in escape bids.

Gear late

Trouble stemmed from the late arrival of Santos team's gear. The players' football shirts, socks and shoes were forgotten in their private airplane. An effort was made by Carl Furlonge, former Trinidad cricketer and manager of a local sports equipment store to outfit the Brazilians, but shortly after Furlonge arived with new boots and other gear, the Brazilians equipment arrived. This caused a further delay to the scheduled 4.45 p.m. start.

In the absence of an official explanation from organisers of the game on the cause of the delay, spectators on the popular side, hundreds of whom had turned up at the Oval from six o'clock in the morning, became impatient.

Play started 5.32 p.m. and Santos began making territorial raids on the Trinidad team. Everald Cummings, one of the three professionals brought home for the "Independence" game, came near to putting Trinidad in the lead but missed an easy chance when only eight yards from goal. Midway in the reduced time first half, Pele headed in a right cross pass from Orlando. There was no further scoring as the game was called off 22 minutes before full time.

Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams left the Oval before close of play to prepare to host the Brazilians at a buffet party at Hilton Hotel later in the night. The Brazilians leave for home tomorrow.