The 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM had all the ingredients to be special. The 20th World Cup edition was hosted by a nation that worships football and has produced some of the best players in history. We, fans, were treated to some of the most entertaining and exciting games, upsets, and a record number of goals, as well as packed modern stadiums with the best-behaved spectators etc.
The Final played at the iconic Maracanã Stadium at Rio de Janeiro saw Germany crowned 2014 World Champions, joining Italy with 4 wins; only Brazil with 5 wins remains ahead. The Germany versus Argentina Final promised to as exciting as when these same teams met in the 1986 and 1990 Finals. Messi tried to emulate his idol Diego Maradona; but Argentina was ultimately disappointed, as Mario Götze’s 113th minute strike was all that was needed for Joachim Löw’s side to become worthy and impressive winners.
Germany’s win has ensured Europe’s dominance over the Americas,11-9. Europe will continue to be dominant as their premier clubs continue to attract the best players in the world with huge pay packets. If the South Americans and the rest of the world do not take steps towards improving their domestic leagues, I’m afraid that Europe will dominate football’s most prestigious event for years to come.
The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games hauled a record 37 medals for the Caribbean (11 gold, 9 silver, 17 bronze). This was due mainly to Jamaica’s fine athletes who brought in 22 medals. Trinidad & Tobago earned eight medals, the Bahamas earned three, Grenada earned two, and Barbados and St. Lucia earned one each.
Jamaica’s performance is by no means surprising as its domestic program is well orchestrated. Other regional athletic associations must adopt the Jamaica Athletic Association (JAA) approach. I visited a Jamaican high school last year for their Sports Day and was truly amazed at the huge crowds that turned up to cheer on young athletes. Over 8000 persons were present, and among them were scouts from American universities and the Jamaica Athletic Association.
Many of our local athletes have to be enrolled into a foreign university to fine-tune their talent. Jamaica’s national program is being monitored by international-associations; and Jamaica will continue to be the regional leaders in track and field for many years to come.
The second edition of the 2014 CPL is expertly reviewed by Renaldo Matadeen on page 18. I, however, must reiterate that the Duckworth–Lewis method has to be revisited for this version of cricket. When the Final game was eventually called off due to rain, the Guyana Amazon Warriors were 107 for 4 after 15.5 overs needing 46 from 25 balls with 6 wickets in hand. In modern-day T-20 cricket, this can be easily achieved; more so, with the informed Warrior’s captain Denesh Ramdin and Christopher Barnwell doing well at the crease. The Barbados Tridents at the same stage of 15.5 overs were 108 for 4. When the umpires called off the game, the Duckworth–Lewis method indicated that the Warriors lost by 8 runs.
A futile protest by the Warriors to the organising committee regarding the time allotted for the match in the face of several rain delays ruled that match referee Denavon Hayles properly applied the relevant rules in the rain-hit CPL final.
It must be noted, however, that the Barbados Tridents was indeed the best led team by Trinidad and Tobago’s Keiron Pollard and deserved to be 2014 Champions. The CPL showed up all West Indian captains’ cricketing skills, or lack thereof, and the new selection committee of the WICB must keep a closer eye on Pollard. Pollard was the only captain that led with enthusiasm and was able to bring out the best from his charges. He is now appointed captain of the Mumbai Indians in their bid to defend their T-20 Champions League Trophy.
The WICB new selection committee led by Clive Lloyd, Courtney Walsh, Eldine Baptiste and Courtney Brown bring a wealth of experience and is widely respected in the region. Convener of the selection panel, Lloyd, has already hinted at focusing on youths; and I’m sure that the WICB will take note of Pollard’s elevation as the Mumbai Indians new captain.
The T&T Secondary School Football League has reverted to the Premier League format last played in the 80’s. This format will ensure the best 14 schools play against each other and will surely enhance the quality of our school football. Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Leonson Lewis to name a few, were all products of this format in the 80’s. We now hope to have less one-sided matches where the best plays against the best regularly.
School principals and coaches will now begin to scout for the best players and transfer them into their schools ahead of their academic qualifications. If our country’s football improves, then I see no problem with this. The new format will also bring back the fans of the past where the school teams were not only supported by their fellow students, but also by their wider community.
PLAY’s first issue was tremendously received; we’ve received calls, emails and accolades from sport fans and personalities regionally; this issue, we bring you similarly great content. Read about former T&T Olympic medalist Roger Gibbon, the duo Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, and Darren Sammy as “Life Goes On”. Enjoy!