TriniView.com Staff Article
The Hasely Crawford Stadium was filled with thousands of supporters from all over the country to officially congratulate the Trinidad and Tobago football team, the Soca Warriors, on their World Cup efforts. Trinidad and Tobago was unable to make it to the second round of the World Cup football competition after being defeated by Paraguay, but they were successful in entering the annals of history as the smallest country to ever qualify for this competition. It was for this reason that the entire nation was proud: win, lose or draw.
Trinidad and Tobago supporters gathered from the Crowne Plaza Hotel to greet the Soca Warriors and to have a chance to see their heroes close up and to get autographs and photographs of them. A procession followed leading all the way to the Hasely Crawford Stadium in majestic fashion with the Warriors seemingly riding the waves of the red sea.
On this day, Saturday, 24th June, 2006, the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the Soca Warriors team were treated to the beautiful music of the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, the sweet voices of Rootsman, Surge, Super Blue and other talented artistes such as Brian London, H20 Phlo, Denise Plummer, the Arouca Girls’ R.C. School Choir and the Signal Hill Alumni Choir. Other acts included an invocation dance by the Malick Folk Performing Company in collaboration with the Clico Shiv Shakti Dancers and the Unification Dance by the Best Village Group. Musical accompaniment was provided by the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force and the Roy Cape All Stars who did splendid jobs.
An address was given by the Captain of the Trinidad and Tobago football team, Dwight Yorke, who thanked all including the staff and the members of the team, which included the coach, Leo Beenhakker, and the support staff. He also thanked FIFA Vice President, Mr. Austin Jack Warner, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Mr. Patrick Manning, and other officials of the government, including the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, the Honourable Mr. Roger Boynes and the Minister of Community Development,Culture and Gender Affairs Senator the Honourable Joan Yuille-Williams.
Included in the formalities of the occasion were the symbolic handing over of the football to the future Soca Warriors and an official address by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Mr. Patrick Manning, who praised the performance of the Trinidad and Tobago team and presented awards to members of the team. These awards are as follows: the sixteen players on the squad who were not selected to represent Trinidad and Tobago in Germany were awarded $250,000 dollars – $200,000 in units from the Unit Trust Corporation and $50,000 in cash; $1,000,000 for the members of the team who ventured to Germany – $750,000 in units from the Unit Trust Corporation and $250,000 in cash; $1,000,000 in cash for coach Leo Beenhakker; and $1,250,000 – $1,000,000 in units from the Unit Trust Corporation and $250,000 in cash for team captain, Dwight Yorke. Dwight Yorke was also made a Cultural Ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago joining the ranks of fellow sportsman and comrade, Mr. Brian Charles Lara, captain of the Trinidad and Tobago cricket team. All mentioned were also awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal, the second highest award in the nation and Mr. Jack Warner was promised a much deserved award at a later date.
Indeed, the Warriors were made to feel very welcomed and appreciated by the country. Hopefully they would again make the country proud in 2010 in South Africa.