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Need for victory in Bahrain
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2005

By George Alleyne,

Trinidad and Tobago must win today against Bahrain. A victory by the Dwight Yorke led team, in addition to being the key that will open the door for this country to next year's World Cup in Germany, will do much for the national psyche.

It will provide a needed lift to Trinidad and Tobago and its people battered by the negatives of the incidence of antisocial behaviour and downright crime, the steadily increasing cost of living, all too many of the youths clearly distracted from education and meaningful upward mobility, and on the verge of joining others, who are, apparently, clueless with regard to the next nutritious meal.

If success in sports, whatever the field, has made heroes of the remarkable many such as Learie Constantine, Mannie Ramjohn, Hypolite Sosa, Sonny Ramadhin, Brian Lara, Jeffrey Stollmeyer, Tyrell Johnson, Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Chris Birchall, Pershing Spooner, Hasely Crawford and Atullah Suerra, among others, a victory over Bahrain will bring in its wake a feeling of national accomplishment to Trinidad and Tobago's 1.3 million citizens. It will be a psychological boost even to those nationals, young, middle-aged and old, who never inasmuch as kicked a football.

Nationals have excelled and reached the summit in the sprints at the Olympic Games; at the World Netball Championships; in Test cricket and at boxing and swimming, but never at football. Twice denied a chance to move on to the World Cup, first against Haiti in 1973 and 16 years later against the United States of America in 1989, the match against Bahrain, the second and decisive encounter will mean another chance at being recognised as world class in football. Our youths, who are focussed, but whose images of themselves as Trinbagonians have been hurt by the incidence of antisocial behaviour, largely the result of the manipulating of so many young minds by major drug importers and distributors; the upsetting reality of a non trickling down of the country's oil, natural gas and energy based industries' wealth and the sad, uncomfortable public wrangling of leading figures in the Opposition United National Congress, will be heartened by a victory today. And we can and must achieve that victory.

Our youths and young adults want positive examples, not merely for themselves, but for the many on the downward slide and yet others in real danger of being corrupted and sidetracked.

The onrush of globalisation and with it the continuing marginalisation of many developing countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean; the bitter, grim reality that despite protestations of political Independence, Trinidadians and Tobagonians are light years away from being in charge of the commanding heights of the economy, and perhaps not fully in charge of the political process as well; must and does hurt.

A victory in Bahrain today, against the host country, while it will neither turn back the hands of the clock of globalisation nor provide even the hope to our young of national, listened to voices in crucial boardrooms, yet will give to them a sense of national pride, a promise of a glimpse of the summit.

They will be able to say to themselves and to others with much needed confidence, "We have achieved. We are achievers!"

And in a larger sense a Trinidad and Tobago victory over Bahrain in Bahrain will contribute to the making of Prime Minister Patrick Manning's aim of this country achieving developed nation status by 2020 that much more realisable.

Was it not a Britisher who would exclaim that his nation's victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo had been won on the playing fields of Eton and Harrow.

Admittedly, it was an elitist thinking, arrogant and snobbish, which affected to ignore the blood and sweat contributions of those who had fought in the trenches. The significance of defeating Bahrain and with it achieving the breakthrough to the World Cup in Germany in 2006, must be the catalyst for an across the board awakening of a pride of self, a pride of country, the seemingly belated start of a thinking that, together, we can turn Trinidad and Tobago around.

There is need for victory in Bahrain by our country's footballers, and, I insist, they can do it for themselves and for country.

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