His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, ORTT, SC, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago received some members the Trinidad and Tobago football team who played the memorable World Cup Football qualifying match against Haiti in 1973, on April 15, 2014.
That team is now call the Football Legends was instrumental in Trinidad and Tobago’s bid to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. Present at the visit was Arthur Sanderson, a former player was instrumental in getting these football legends together, especially for the visit to the Office of the President. Included in the visit was Oliver Champs, Team Manager, Selwyn Murren, Captain and players Everald “Gally” Cummings, Lawrence Rondon, Raymond Moraldo, Devenish Paul, Selris Figaro, Wilfred Cave, Leon Carpette, Leroy De Leon, Raymond Roberts, Edgar Vidale, Paul Regis, Hugh Bancharan and Frank Joseph.
His Excellency initiated the visit by expressing how much the football legends filled him with pride not on nationalistic level but also because most of the members of the team were from south Trinidad and the team captain was his cousin. During discussion members of the team expressed the view that they felt forgotten and discarded, when in fact given their knowledge and experience they are well equipped to make meaningful contributions to the national football fraternity.
His Excellency recalled the great skill demonstrated by the now deceased Russell Texeira during that World Cup campaign and the disappointment felt throughout the Nation over the 2 – 1 lost to Haiti in that 1973 match. However, not letting the controversy surrounding that match impact on the team spirit, the Legends when on to trounced what was considered the “best Mexican team” of that time, 4 – 0, the greatest defeat that Mexico has suffered by Trinidad and Tobago.
Encouraged by His Excellency, each member of the legends spoke of the unfair referring endured during that match against Haiti, when five of the goals they scored were disallowed. The lack of unbiased conduct by the match officials was underscored when FIFA later imposed a lifetime ban on the referee and both linesmen. However, their stories were recounted with great sadness and sorrow.
In their dressing room after the match someone struck up a rhythm and began singing Lord Kitchener’s “Rain-O-Rama”, Mighty Sparrow’s “Obeah Wedding” and “Meda” calypsoes and although despondent and close to tears, everyone joined in. This display of apparent jubilation continued all the way back to the hotel amazing the onlookers at their ability to
The Football Legends presented his Excellency with a team portrait taken during the 1974 World Cup Football Campaign.Share