Villiage Rivalry Leads To Rough Cuff

Ruthven Baptiste
Date Published: 

IT IS NOT surprising that the Tunapuna-Tacarigua Village Olympics match ended prematurely in fisticuffs at the Tacarigua Savannah last Saturday, August 11.

Age-old rivalry between the two eastern communities has sharpened in recent years and relations are now marked with mutual envy.

Tunapuna has an abundance of high quality talent which Tacarigua hasn't. But, Tacarigua has a highly successful league which Tunapuna hasn't. So: Tunapuna, the players; Tacarigua, the league.

The game started smoothly with Tacarigua playing with a grim determination and Tunapuna with a quiet confidence. Tension rose when Tacarigua opened the scoring midway in the first half, but it subsided five minutes later when Tunapuna equalised.

In the second half Tunapuna approached the game with resolve while Tacarigua's first half dsh began to fade. With Lyle Jeffery playing a masterly game in the half line and Godrey Harris spearheading the attack, Tunapuna gradually dominated.

But midway in this half, with the score still one all, Buggy Haynes (Tacarigua) and Willy Baily (Tunapuna) clashed and it ended in an exchange of kicks.

Spectators who were encroaching upon the field piecemeal all the while, did the ultimate, swarming on the entire field. Sporadic fighting broke out all over. As fast as one was broken up, another started.

What was important about this match was that the game was well attended, the spectators were closely identified with the teams.

Because of community patriotism, the players showed enthusiasm and purpose that are seldom seen in the "official" leagues.

I am not condoning the uncontrolled exuberance that leads to storming of fields and rough play. Nevertheless, when players leave their communities to play as mercenaries for clubs in Port-of-Spain, they never put into their game any effort comparable with when they are representing their community.

Veteran fans claim that a Malvern/Colts match or an Intercol final a few years ago would attract a test match crowd and that no inter community match was as hard fought or stimulated such interest. The veterans dismiss the uninspiring football seen in the league matches today as the "young generation's" lack of interest and faulty temperament. What is true, to my mind at any rate, is that this present generation is not affixing their loyalty to any entity like Colts, Malvern, QRC or St. Mary's but to something that is more real and immediate — their community.