Trinidad, Cuba, Haiti expected

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Soccer festival planned for Independence

A QUADRANGULAR CARIBBEAN soccer tournament involving World Cup finalists Haiti and teams from Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Jamaica, has been planned to highlight Independence celebrations here for football enthusiasts when these teams clash at the National Stadium in early August.

The idea, that of new National Sports Chairman William Isaacs, that a major sporting event should form part of Jamaica's Independence celebrations this year, sent Jamaica Football Federation's 1st Vice-President, Locksley Comrie on a two-fold trip to Haiti recently and plans are now afoot for the presentation, with the organisers indicating that sponsors are likely to be Guinness Jamaica Limited.

Purpose of Comrie's trip as explained by the JFF President Tino Barrovier, was in the first instance to inquire from the Haiti Football Federation of their failure to honour an agreement to play Jamaica last month, whether or not they qualified for the World Cup finals, secondly, he was to invite them to participate in the Independence tournament.

Questions on the first issue proved fruitless, since the Haitian team was away from home and the new executive of the Haitian Football Federation with whom Comrie held talks could throw no light on the matter, except to explain that the team's commitments had become greater since qualifying for the World Cup and as a result even the national soccer league had to be condensed. However, Comrie left with a verbal 99% 'Yes' for the quadrangular tournament with the official confirmation coming from the HFF a few days ago.

A board meeting of the JFF scheduled for the Terra Nova Hotel on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. will further discuss two requests made by the Haitians: (1) an extension of the number of persons in their delegation and (2) insurance against injury.

Anticipating an early confirmation for Trinidad and Cuba and barring any further unforeseen complications with the Haitians, National Sports in conjunction with the JFF are securing themselves for yet another exciting tourney at the National Stadium.

Although based on national sentiment alone, the games involving Jamaica could prove to be the bigger crowd pullers; the one game that could probably be termed the "match of the series" should be the clash between Trinidad and Haiti as this will be their first encounter since Haiti's 2-1 win over Trinidad in the CONCACAF World Soccer Cup qualifying match last December in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

On that occasion Trinidad had four of their five goals disallowed. It was also as a result of this that the game's referee, Jose Roberto of El Salvador and linesman John Highets of Canada were both suspended from taking any further part in the tournament by the Central American and Caribbean Football Federation (CONCACAF) on the request of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Trinidad and the Netherlands who accused the two officials of favouring Haiti.

The Jamaica players are in no way short of match practice and in the past three months have been exposed to top class international competition with the visits of Uruguay, Bermuda and the English First Division team Queen's Park Rangers as part of the Guinness International Football series.

This quadrangular tournament now being planned seems destined, however, to be one of the most exciting and competitive football tourneys to be staged this year.