Colin E. H. Croft
Despite everything as regards FIFA, including the “c” word – corruption – FIFA’s Women’s World Cup 2015 now being played has been thoroughly enjoyable!
Having used soccer to assist with cricket fitness before playing the latter for West Indies, even being called up for Guyana’s Football Colts in 1974, I wish that I could have been half as good as those ladies now plying their great passes, runs, shunts and goals in Canada.
Wow! They have been putting on a tremendous show!
Japan, defending champions from 2011, who won then by a penalty shootout after a dramatic 2-2 full-time draw against United States of America, will have a tough time to win again, even as it topped its group to qualify for knock-out stages in 2015.
Previous tournament winners Germany, Norway and USA, also contenders Brazil and France, look ominous.
Similarly equipped teams threaten, including adventurous, spunky Cameroon – ‘Indomitable Lionesses’ – the first African women’s team to qualify for second round, emulating their male counterparts of FIFA World Cup 1990.
I still feel for Trinidad & Tobago Women’s soccer team – ‘Soca Princesses’ or ‘Women Soca Warriors’ – who just lost out on representing the Caribbean in this tournament, losing the play-off final extremely agonizingly to Ecuador, in Port of Spain last December, by one goal; 1-0.
Ironically, Cameroon destroyed T&T’s nemesis Ecuador 6-0 two weeks ago in a ‘Group C’ match!
Monica Quinteros’ 91st minute goal caused obvious trauma to T&T’s players, so many tears and much agony after they had lost and realized that a great opportunity to represent themselves, families and especially our region had somehow passed them by again.
It was so similar to T&T’s men’s elimination from possibilities for FIFA World Cup 1990 back in November 1989, when USA, then a lowly-regarded soccer entity, also somehow managed to beat well-favored Everald “Gally” Cummings-coached “Strike Squad” 1-0 in a red-decked POS.
That magical or depressing goal, depending on perspective, one that was certainly heard around the soccer world, was scored by the only professional in USA’s team, Paul Caligiuri, in the 30th minute, to crush the calypso country’s ambitions. That goal restated USA’s soccer climb too.
Ironically, after not being able to be in World Cup soccer since 1950, when they did also somehow beat England, USA was selected to host FIFA World Cup 1994, another large feather in its cap.
Last week, West Indies cricket team was dismissed, demoralized then destroyed by a Test cricket team, Australia, who, while not yet at the top of its game, showed how real professionalism works.
At no time in those two Tests v WI was Australia anything but confident and composed!
An international team can only be thusly organized by recent histories of success partnered by proper preparation plus historical understanding of the job at hand.
Somehow, one gets the impression that the present WI Test cricket team, collectively, do not even understand themselves!
What was most confusing and disappointing about WI’s efforts v Australia was that after each game, WI captain Denesh Ramdin thought that the only wise thing to do was to suggest that “there were positives etc.”
It is as if the captain is just programmed to utter such thrash. Honesty seemed to have been thrown out of the window. I have not suddenly become blind so I could not see any positives in that 2-0 drubbing!
After WI surprisingly beat England with a superlative effort at Kensington Oval, even doubters started trying to believe that maybe WI could have bottomed-out, then would rebound and continue upwards against Australia. Those hopes were dashed with WI’s putrid batting efforts.
WI had a 50-50 chance of beating Australia in Test No. 1 if the hosts had selected another full-fledged spinner to play in Dominica, but to be dismissed in two innings in Jamaica for less than 250, as was so in Dominica too, is seriously troubling and distressing, certainly depressing.
WI’s scores in four innings v Australia were 148, 216, 220 and 114. What is positive about that?
To further have sports fans and supporters spluttering over their brandy, Guyana’s Golden Jaguars could not even cross their first hurdle, drawing on aggregate; 6-6; with St. Vincent, to be eliminated on ‘away goals rule’ from further participation in FIFA World Cup 2018.
That must have been a big let-down for Jamaal Shabazz’s outfit. Seven years ahead of time, Guyana’s Golden Jaguars simply have to restart preparations for FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
The Jaguars could not escape St. Vincent Heat’s steam and clutches, allowing the visitors to score four away goals in a 4-4 draw at Guyana’s National Stadium at Providence.
The headline in Guyana’s Kaieteur News after that game was amazing, amusing and confusing: “Vincy Heat scorch Golden Jaguars in humdinger at Providence!”
Knowing that Guyana had been eliminated from competition overall due to that game, there was much sadness, since yet another Caribbean team had failed in world competition.
The seven million English-speaking Caribbean has always punched above its weight with diligence and determination, but that fight seems waned, so the Caribbean are missing out in the real action. Enjoy!
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