November 18, 2005
T&T kicks Bahrain out of World Cup

Caribbean sport lovers will be in for two top class world events. Before the ICC World Cup comes off in the region March 2007, focus will be on the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Trinidad and Tobago ensured a regional presence with a tactical victory over Bahrain.

The joys of that accomplishment are still echoing around the region, no more so than in the twin- island republic. {{more}}

T &T will be one of the thirty-two teams at football world’s showpiece.

The Caribbean outfit beat Bahrain in Manana 1-0, on Wednesday to advance to the final.

The “Soca Warriors” earned their triumph through a 49th minute header from lanky defender Denis Lawrence.

The bean-pole Lawrence rose above a pool of red shirts to score the decisive goal. His goal silenced the capacity crowd, which was admitted to the stadium free of charge, in a show of optimism.

A cautious Trinidad and Tobago team which made some changes in personnel from the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Port of Spain last Saturday, was put on the back foot as early as the 8th minute when Mohammed Hubail missed a golden chance.

Stern John could have put the Warriors ahead in the 30th minute but the Bahrainian goalkeeper foiled his effort with an excellent save with his foot.

The Caribbean side should have doubled its tally, but inspirational mid fielder Russell Latapy who came on as a second half substitute, hit the cross bar with a rasping shot from within the penalty area, in the 79th minute.

Both defences had to make crucial interventions to thwart the advances of their opponents.

The Bahrainians staged an all out attack late in the second half, using a four man forward line, but the Trinidad and Tobago defence held firm. The sound of the final whistle brought elation to the team and their approximately 200 supporters who made the 15 -hour journey to the Asian continent.

Trinidad and Tobago not only humbled Bahrain, but also blotted out the perks offered to the players.

The Bahrainians players were promised large sums of money, as well as properties if they had qualified.

The turn around in the fortunes of the Trinidad and Tobago team has been credited to the advent of Dutch Coach Leo Beenhakker. He took over from Bertille St. Claire, after the fourth round of matches.

The recall of Latapy, the extension of the genealogical branches to include all available talents and the professionalism of Beenhakker saw a more purposeful approach by the Soca Warriors.

Trinidad and Tobago became the fourth Caribbean team, and the second English-speaking territory from the region to reach the final of football’s World Cup.

They follow Cuba in 1938 Haiti in 1974 and Jamaica in 1998.