Class of ‘79 gets Football Heroes status
February 26, 2010
Class of ‘79 gets Football Heroes status

The team of footballers of the famed 1979 era, when this country entered in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) competition, was given heroes status when the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) recognized them at a special ceremony last Saturday evening at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.{{more}}

Although only six of the members of the team which finished second in their debut at the CFU level were present, the occasion was still an auspicious one.

On hand to share the spotlight were Goalkeepers: Dorian Phillips and Ali Munroe, defender Tyrone Barrow, forwards: Julian Small and brothers Raultie and Guy Lowe.

On island, but absent from the ceremony were defender Tyrone Spence, midfielders: Ashley Baptiste and Tyrone Grant, and Goal Keeper Paul O’Garro.

With most of the team based in North America, a ceremonial presentation was made, involving Minister of Sports Mike Browne, National Lotteries Authority Product Development Officer Anthony Dennie, and President of the SVGFF Joseph Delves.

Those who were unavoidably absent as they reside overseas were Defenders: Sydney Mandeville, Raymond Ballantyne, Stanley Morris, and John Cato. The midfield was led by team captain Elliot Millington, his brother Osbourne, and Keith Bonadie, as well as forwards Vin Phillips and Pete Morris.

The team, which rallied the nation into self-belief and temporarily soothed the inconveniences of the eruption of La Soufriere in their maiden match played here, came from behind to tie with Martinique, 2-2.

The Vincentians had to respond to Martinique’s goals from Torrel and Jermaine. But Baptiste and Guy Lowe put the match even, and silenced the doubters.

On the return leg, Pete Morris scored the lone goal in Martinique. Next up was Guadeloupe.

Both teams drew nil-nil here, but the Vincentians overpowered their host on the return leg, 3-1. Ballantyne, Pete Morris and Raultie Lowe were the goal scorers. Salnot scored for the Guadeloupians.

In the finals in Suriname, the Vincentians shocked the host 3-2. A brace from Guy Lowe and Baptiste ended the host’s unbeaten run of thirteen years on home soil.

The Vincentians, though, lost to eventual winners, Haiti, 3-1, in their second match. Guy Lowe was the lone goal scorer for the Vincentians.

In their last match, Trinidad and Tobago felt the energy of the small 150 square mile island, as they were beaten 2-1. Guy Lowe and Baptiste were on the score sheet, as this country announced its arrival, then, as a regional Football power house.

Last Saturday’s honouring was another in a series of recognitions paid to the team.

President of the SVGFF Joseph Delves said that additionally, fifty of the past national footballers would be granted life time passes to all events under its aegis.

Bitter- Sweet

The night was, however, a bitter-sweet one for the local Football fraternity, as it coincided with the deaths of two members of the local Football family.

Moments of silence were held for former national player and a former President of the St. Vincent Football Association, Sylvester “Scobie” Taylor, and current national female player, Matika Ferdinand.

Incidentally, Taylor, who died at the age of 79, was the man at the helm when the 1979 heroics were achieved and was part of the contingent that travelled to Suriname.

Ferdinand, 22, an active player in the women’s set up, was part of this country’s training squad preparing for the World Cup Qualifiers to take place in Guyana early next month. She was also attached to the Department of Physical Education and Sports, as part of the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) Programme.