Behind The Sporting Scene

Lorrie Alexander
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Calypso Football

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad:

While Jamaica's football enthusiasts await the fate of the next encounter with Cuba to settle the score as to which country moved on to the next round of the CONCACAF ladder of Olympic football, Trinidad learned its fate on a very wet last Sunday afternoon at the Queen's Park Oval but not before the entire country was fired to almost fever pitch by the pre-match excitement generated. Some 25,000 patrons eventually crammed into the Oval, braving the very bad weather to see their heroes try to make it with three goals over Surinam.

Surinam had won the first leg in their hometown, 2-0 and on the return leg Surinam had made it known that they were out to repeat. Trinidad, on the other hand, made sounds that said in essence: "Not this time. We will show you how we support our boys to victory." And the preparations were elaborate. That is, the non-football preparations.

The newspapers first set the mood. The them was: "Trinidad will have to get three goals. And get those three they must. All Trinidad must come out and stand firm behind their side. Give the boys all the support possible."

The calypsonians then took up the challenge and at least one calypsonian came out with a plan. The Mighty Composer by name, he composed a calypso especially for the Trinidad boys.

"T-r-i-n-i-d-a-d ,- and Tobago
We want three goals (repeat)
Three goals, three goals
We want three.
Three goals, three goals,
We want three". . .

This was the chorus. The other words were as appropriate. And backed by other calypsonians belting out the refrain, the Mighty Composer started the action on Friday night prior to the game when he launched his song at a Special pre-Independence Calypso Tent in downtown Port-of-Spain. The trend continued on Saturday, all day over the radios with the football calypso being played at intervals.

The big day, Sunday, was no exception. The football calypso was the main item of a pre-match two-hour show that provided entertainment for all who had flocked the gates which were open form 12 noon for the 4.00 p.m. match. The thousands who braved the downpour between 1 and 2 p.m. were not disappointed. The show was a good one but the rain also had other ideas. A persistent downpour almost washed out the match but despite the pelting rain, fans with umbrellas stood in the drenching rain until play started by a Dutch referee substituting for the Mexican ref who did not turn up.

One beautiful goal by Trinidad resulted from these attacks but numerous chances went unrealized as the large crowd groaned in unison and with fretful regularity. The opportunities that went a-begging were almost as many as the big raindrops as the boys from Calypsoland responded to the urging of their supporters fro "three goals, three goals." Half time came with Trinidad in the lead 1-0.

The Dutch youngsters did will in the second half however, to slow down the pace of the game to their liking and a quick darting run accompanied by adequate body-shifting by their captain put paid to Trinidad's chances as he provided the equaliser. With no more goals scored, Surinam and the planeload of supporters who had come over to cheer, were happy men and women. Surinam had moved on to meet either Jamaica or Cuba.