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Caricom solidarity with Soca Warriors

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Now that the Caricom Single Market and Economy is getting closer to reality, we in the region will have to deepen our outlook. Our borders have broadened, and the scope of our potential has grown.

Even though St. Vincent and the Grenadines missed out on the final stage of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, the Caribbean focus has shifted to supporting the Soca Warriors (Trinidad and Tobago). {{more}}

Many football fans might still be grieving over the Vincy Heat’s (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) exit from the 2006 event.

When we reflect, it just might be divine destiny. We are not prepared for further action!

We can adjust easily. And that would have been the case if we overcome those obstacles.

Just suppose we had advanced with plans on stream for the International Cricket Council World Cup in 2007, St. Vincent and the Grenadines would have been hard-pressed to find a venue to stage the home matches. And those would have been against places like Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama.

Imagine the stress we would have been under, especially with the friction between cricket and football authorities. Arnos Vale would have been the only venue.

That emphasises the urgency for the National Stadium, and not just an alternative, but also projects the importance of sporting facilities.

We in the Caribbean have thrown our support to the Soca Warriors, the way we did with Jamaica in 1998. If the Warriors can muster points to climb into the third spot, their trip to Germany would be guaranteed. The thrust is to deal with Guatemala and Costa Rica, on seven points as the next round heats up tomorrow Saturday September 3.

The Soca Warriors will be at home to Guatemala then. Nothing short of full points will be required in this, and in the away matches against Costa Rica and Panama following.

If the Soca Warriors can salvage anything from their final match at home against Mexico in October, their chances would have been enhanced.

Trinidad and Tobago has made strides on the sporting arena in recent times and St. Vincent and the Grenadines has proven to be a happy hunting ground for that nation. The Under-19 squad completed a double: League and Knock Out titles in the TCL Group Under-19 Cricket tournament.

That must have served as a source of inspiration, for their ladies repeated the feat in the West Indies Cricket Tournament at the expense of their Vincentian counterparts.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines surrendered the League title and, having the opportunity to take the Knock out version in an exchange with Trinidad and Tobago squandered that offer.

Congratulations however to the Trinidad and Tobago team.

There seems to be something going for sport in T & T, even though that nation does not appear to be too excited.

Memories of November 19, 1989 when all that was needed was a draw to take T &T to Italy still linger in their minds.

The zest, and national support needed at this critical juncture does not seem to be overwhelming.

The Caribbean is filled with ambiguity, and Trinidad and Tobago is never short of its impetuosity.

The time is right for the region to gather a higher international profile, and Trinidad and Tobago’s qualification for the 2006 World Cup will be a big boost.

Even as we experience the subtleties of keeping the West Indies cricket team intact, perhaps it may be ideal to think of a Caricom squad for World Cup qualifiers. But that is an issue that may never pass the discussion stage.

But that is another challenge the region must grapple with.

The staging of the Cricket World Cup will be a test of our willingness to integrate. If we take the lessons from that exercise, perhaps the idea might take root that a Caribbean football team can in fact be a reality. But first there must be a political union in the Caribbean as stipulated by FIFA.

That will call for maturity by forces beyond the sporting administrations. This may seem a distant thought, but Caribbean people have shown that we have the resilience and fortitude to surmount difficulties. Things can’t get worse for us if we adopt that course.

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