Inside Sports

Baz Freckleton
Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Deserve Accolades

At the Jamaica Football Federation level president George Abrahams and first vice-president Tino Barovier deserve accolades for their performance as delegates at the Congress meeting of the Confederation Of North, Central American and Caribbean Football Associations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad last week.

Abrahams at worst is a glib, smooth, knowledgeable performer. But it was Barovier's astuteness in his peculiarly un-dramatic but effective way which prevented the meeting from often slipping from lively debate into bitter conflicts.

It was Barovier's persuasive pleading that got Haiti's Gerard Rouzier to withdraw his resignation as first vice-president of CONCACAF when a Surinam protest about arrangements for three-way games involving Haiti, Cuba and Surinam in Trinidad was upheld, thus questioning Rouzier's handling of the affair.

It was Barovier who lobbied to get the same Rouzier elevated to the position as one of CONCACAF's three representatives to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) the governing world body of football.

And it was Barovier, who suggested that the easiest transition following on Rouzier's promotion to FIFA level would be to move up the vice-presidents one notch with the senior committee member taking over as fourth vice-president, a position held by Jamaica's George Abrahams up to the start of the congress.

Up They Went

Following on the diplomatically excellent Barovier suggestion Mexico's Hiram Sousa Lopez moved up to first vice-president, Trinidad's Eric James climbed to second vice-president, Jamaica's George Abrahams jumped to third vice-president and Morua of Costa Rica was upped to fourth vice-president.

The Congress also decided: that Spanish Honduras should be host of the 1972 CONCACAF juvenile championships, which were last held in Havana, Cuba, where Jamaica with a hastily arranged team caused by the refusal of headmasters to allow their schoolboy selectees to make the trip finished third behind winners Mexico and runners-up Cuba.

Over in Trinidad where the Fifth CONCACAF Finals are taking place the big bluff by the majority of Trinidad's national squad of twenty two to extract some stiff concessions from the Trinidad Football Association fizzed but as the association took an unyielding stand: "accept our terms in total or you will be replaced."

The TFA had offered the players J$4.18 per day for the 15-day series together with a pair of boots, track suits in one colour, sweat shirts and one pass for each game, as well as passes for each player called up to train, but not included in the last twenty two. The TFA also decided to house the party of twenty two at the Trinidad Hilton as from last Saturday and to examine some sort of insurance coverage for the entire team.

What Players Sought

The players, however, issued an ultimatum to the TFA that they would not play unless they were given: (a) two pairs of football boots each (b) they were each insured for a certain minimum for the entire tournament (c) track suits and sweat shirts were provided for each player (d) proper hotel accommodation was provided (e) a bonus tour to Canada was promised on signed document if Trinidad won the series (f) four passes were given to each player for the series (g) one pass was allotted to each trainee eventually left out of the squad (h) security was guaranteed against loss of revenue for employed players and each player was given $J 209 for the series.

In the end twenty one of the twenty two players signed a declaration agreeing to play under the TFA conditions. The left-out player was Mervyn 'Jimmy' Springer, who failed to meet the Trinidad Football Association's "accept our conditions by 11 a.m. Friday or be replaced" ultimatum.

One of the striking footballers was Anthony Douglas, the former Vere Technical High School and All-Schools ace goalgetter. Douglas signed the TFA terms in South Trinidad where he works and plays.

The defending champions, Costa Rica, will each be rewarded with $J 708.50 and the team will get a prize trip if they retain the title which they won in San Jose in 1969 without loss of a game.

Each member of 22-member amateur Costa Rica squad is getting about J$111 as expense money for the six-nation championships which end on December 5 at Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.

Costa Rica won their opening game 3-0 against Cuba while the morale-sapped Trinidad team, hurt by their capitulation to the TFA ultimatum, were lucky to emerge with a 1-1 draw from their first outing against the lowly Honduras.