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Caribbean region


The point secured by Trinidad and Tobago in their first World Cup appearance serves as a vital morale booster not just for the Soca Warriors and their country, but for the entire Caribbean.

Most persons had dismissed the Soca Warriors or had written them off as just appearing for the ride. It was thought that they would have been high on the list to make an early departure from Germany. Soca Warriors were supposed to have been easy pickings.{{more}}

Before the match against Sweden, the question was by how many goals the Soca Warriors would have been beaten. No one contemplated that the Soca Warriors would have drawn a game.

The performance and result of Saturday’s epic debut, has aroused interest in the Soca Warriors.

The balance has shifted and there was great anxiety and interest before yesterday’s showdown with England. Whatever the result of that encounter, no one can detract from the Soca Warrior’s first appearance on the world stage.

To have drawn a match against Sweden was an astounding display. And to have done it with ten men for most of the second half was simply awesome.

In a way, it reminded me of the Mexico versus Vincy Heat at Arnos Vale October 10, 2004. By the time the Vincentians were reduced to ten men, Mexico had already converted.

Everyone expected the Vincentians to have folded and the floodgates should have opened. But a source of inspiration overtook the Vincy squad and urged on by the Vincentian crowd, the belief gradually came over the Vincentian party that Mexico was not that invincible unit that people assumed.

That Vincentian display had a ripple effect. Thereafter, the Soca Warriors improved their performance against the Mexicans. When points were vital, Trinidad and Tobago took a hold of Mexico at home.

The Soca Warriors have grown from strength to strength, and everyone would concede that they are not the same outfit that the Vincy Heat let off the hook twice during the World Cup campaign. Once the Vincy Heat was eliminated, support shifted to the Warriors.

There is a feeling of Caribbean solidarity for the Soca Warriors.

The support has been genuine, and perhaps for the first time in regional history, there is a sense of togetherness.

No matter how powerful one may assume their role to be on the international level, there are some subtle forces at work when it comes to World Cup soccer.

Jack Warner may be a great administrator, but in the overall picture, his weight has no impact on the field of play.

Persons think that Avery John’s second yellow card, which led to his expulsion from the Sweden encounter, was harsh by even the most conservative standards.

That may have been the inspiration the Soca Warriors needed. It added a touch of gold to the performance and made the shock more pleasant for Caribbean fans.

The result against England yesterday could not have been so drastic compared to the opening showdown. There is the other clash against Paraguay next Tuesday. What a feeling it would be for Trinidad and Tobago to be in the Second Round. The rest of the world would have to notice. And the Caribbean would benefit, for the Soca Warriors are the region’s flag bearers.

The lessons of that sojourn will be profound for the Caribbean and will serve as a platform for preparation for Vincy Heat for the 2010 World Cup.