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Alors, félicitations les Bleus!
Rather regrettably for most of us, the 2018 FIFA World Cup has come to an end. We are now faced with the daunting task of having to wait until November 2022 for the 22nd edition - the experiment on the Asian continent in Qatar to begin.
What a great World Cup it was. There was just about everything that one can dream of; excitement, drama, thrills, controversy, upsets, tactical awareness and great goals.
It was the first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe and the 11th time in Europe at an estimated cost of over $14.2 Billion, making it the most expensive World Cup ever.
What really struck me was how enthralled we were as a nation with this World Cup. Everyone I spoke to displayed symptoms of World Cup ‘fever’. They were either glued to their television sets or listening on the radio to the games. Just driving along the Avenue or on the ever busy Western Main Road in St James, especially on a weekend, there were crowds gathered in their numbers at their respective watering holes supporting their favourite team. World Cup fever was in every man, woman and child. For this, kudos must be given to CNC3 for bringing the games live and also to their sister company the radio frequency the Vibe CT105.1FM and the Guardian newspapers coverage could not be matched.
I must express a huge thank you to all those who listened on the radio and complimented the commentary as most of you were on the road but were still able to follow the games live and once again, the management of CNC3 and 105.1FM must be congratulated.
As one football fan mentioned to me, it is a pity the Soca Warriors were not in Russia after getting into the final round of the ‘hex’. He alluded to the fact that Stephen Hart should never have been fired at that point after the defeat here at home to Costa Rica followed by a defeat away to Honduras.
I must admit his point was well taken, as it is no disgrace losing to Costa Rica, and Panama was the only team to come away with victory in Honduras. Neither of Mexico, USA nor Costa Rica did that.
It is indeed ironic that the two managers sacked after the first two rounds of CONCACAF qualification were Jürgen Klinsmann of the USA and Hart of T&T. As you know, both countries then finished in 5th and 6th position with neither qualifying for even the playoff match.
Of course, T&T not qualifying was not just about the timing of the sacking of Hart; it goes much deeper than that. It really comes down to planning, or should I say a lack of proper planning. It is as simple as that.
Just the frenzy of the people of this nation should galvanise the executive of the TTFA into some sort of action. The only action I see from some members is trying to get the long-awaited and drawn out financial details relating to the football body’s largely controversial US$2.25 Million “Home of Football”.
Unfortunately, some of the members. I understand from reliable sources, seem to be blowing ‘hot and cold’; one-day demanding answers and the next, like soft babies pretending they are unaware of what is really going on. The country is depending on the members of the TTFA to ensure there is good governance within our football. It is time to stop pussyfooting with persons that are destroying the fabric of the beautiful game right in front of your very eyes and you are doing nothing about it. Stand up and be counted!
Our footballing public deserves better than this. Our players deserve better than this. They must be given every chance and opportunity to qualify for the next World Cup. We’ve done it before and we certainly can do it again. The only footballing interest appears to be warped around the ‘Home of Football’. Where is our development plan heading? What is the plan for the various youth teams?
Have we singled out a couple special players for elite training? Why are our youth teams losing? I suppose what may be of more importance is the gross floor area and the number of rooms being built for the ‘Home of Football’.
In retrospect, the 2018 World Cup saw some of the big teams bow out very early. Colombia left at the round of 16, Brazil left us at the quarter-final stage and we ended up with 4 European countries in the semi-final stage. Congratulations to France on being well-deserved winners and Croatia for being consistent throughout the tournament as runners-up.
I decided to pick my own team of the tournament playing a 4-4-2 system.
Of course, there are at least another dozen players that could have made it but in my opinion, these 11 were the main reason for their countries making it as far as they did. Meanwhile, let’s hope we all get over this World Cup tabanca quickly. But for the next four years, Vive La France!
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Defenders: Kieran Trippier (England) Raphaël Varane (France) Diego Godín (Uruguay) Lucas Hernández (France)
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) N’Golo Kanté (France) Luka Modri_ (Croatia) Eden Hazard (Belgium)
Forwards: Kylian Mbappé (France) Antoine Griezmann (France)
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