Rough Play Mars Goodwill Series

Ruthven Baptiste
Date Published: 

Trinidad vs Valencia

A CONFIDENT Trinidad disposed of Valencia, the champion professional club of Venezuela, in style on Sunday 20 at the Oval, and on Tuesday 22 at Skinner Park, with Trinidad winning the first game 2-1 and the latter 1-nil.

Trinidad won both matches in style, but not in fine style, as the large crowds on both occasions expected. It was only in fleeting moments that Trinidad displayed the craft that made them the best team in Haiti December last.

The series started on a sour not very early in the first match when our left back, Winston Phillip, floored Valencia's right winger twice with atrocious tackles. These incidents set the tone of rough play and unsportsman-like behavior for the remainder of the series.


The other contributing factor for Valencia's rough play was that they were no match for Trinidad. They lacked the wherewithal to deal with Archibald, Cummings and Steve David in particular, so they resorted to tugging at jerseys, tripping and tackling from behind.

Warren Archibald, possibly Trinidad's best ever forward, felt the effects of the rough play most of all. Whenever he travelled with characteristic speed and seemingly magnetic control he was invariably brought down. Under the conditions neither team settled down and it was no surprise that the first goal of the match was a penalty for Trinidad because of a foul on Archibald and the second another penalty for Valencia, this time from Selris Figaro doing a bit of goalkeeping.


The fleeting moments of Trinidad's potential were captured in Archibald's dribbling, of course, our second goal of the match and Everard Cummings' swerve passing and curling passes over the defenders heads.

Trinidad's second goal came from some clever dribbling from Steve David. The last stage in his dribble was executed on the touch line where he squared back for Cummings running like an express bus to slam into the back of the net.

But the highlight of the match, in my view, was Cummings' swerve passing. Swerve passes and banana shots are coming more and more into vogue. We got a sample of a banana shot from Pele in that notorious Santos/Trinidad game in '72 when Pele curled a free kick around a Trinidad barrier and had Figueroa (Trinidad's goalkeeper then) diving full length to push the ball around the uprights.

As teams devise more efficient defensive systems forwards have to find new ways of penetrating them. Swerves, bananas and curlers are the tricks forwards are perfecting. With the development of the pivot system and ultra defensive systems where, in addition to the pivot, a sweeper is added, straight passes are invariably cut off. That's why today there are seldom five goals scored in a match.

That's why in coaching programmes more emphasis has to be placed on developing ball skills rather than the fetish for physical exercises are calisthenic in themselves.

The second game at Skinner Park was rougher than the first and the absence of Steve David, who is now on trial with Leicester City, made a significant difference in the penetration of our forward line. There was only one goal in the match and it came from a Winston Phillip long throw, followed by a melee and then a goal.


Finally, with the first test less than a month away and the Shell Shield series still in progress, it does not seem advisable that football matches should be played at the Oval. It is said that the Oval outfield is not what it used to be on account of the numerous football matches played there and the cost of a rough outfield can be as expensive as the injury to Lawrence Rowe during the third test of the Australian tour last year.