|WARRIORS CHEER THE SILVER
First up on Saturday morning was the Trinidad and Tobago technical staff members and players having all eyes on the television screens at the hotel for the Olympic 100 metres Final in which the ¨Soca Warriors¨cheered on Richard Thompson´s capturing of the Silver Medal. The finish was celebrated all the way in Havana as other tourists at the hotel took note of the twin island´s accomplishment moreso through the presence of the T&T team.
¨Let´s try to get him on the national team now,¨ head coach Francisco Maturana joked after learning that Thompson was a former player himself before switching his main focus to the tracks.
Caribbean Football Union President Jack Warner, who arrives here for Wednesday´s World Cup qualifier between T&T and Cuba, immediately issued a statement on the Olympic double for the Caribbean.
¨On behalf of the Caribbean Football Union, I am extremely elated to extend congratulations on the phenomenal and unparalleled performance by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Trinidad’s Richard Thompson in sweeping Gold and Silver in the prestigious 100 metres track event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
¨This is the second time in Olympic history that Caribbean athletes have claimed Gold and Silver in track and field’s most celebrated event. Thirty two years ago, in Montreal it was Gold for Trinidad’s Hasely Crawford and Silver for Jamaica’s Don Quarrie. Usain’s extraordinary record breaking bolt and Richard’s meteoric rise to sprinting fame has put the Caribbean on the international sporting map for yet another time. They have done the Caribbean proud and have resurrected the Caribbean dream. The world has stopped in awe at the strength of our performance.
Bolt and Thompson epitomize the Caribbean spirit, passion and resolve. Their character, strength and determination personify our fervour and enthusiasm and is a reflection the Caribbean’s deep history of struggle.¨
The T&T team, in a country with a lot of emphasis on the Olympics will switch its focus back to the football field with a training session on Saturday evening after having the morning off following the hectic traveling schedule of the previous night.
Telesford In as extra man
Puerto Rico Islanders utility player Osei Telesford was added as a 19th player to the T&T team in Havana and is scheduled to arrive in Havana on Sunday for Wednesday's qualifier against Cuba.
The team had its first training session in Havana on Saturday at a training field on the outskirts of Havana. The field resembled that of a an ordinary Secondary School ground in Trinidad minus any changing rooms and with some uneven areas. T&T are expected to have one more session there on Sunday. Saturday's session lasted for roughly one hour with light running and ball work taking up much of the sixty minutes.
"The facilities aren't that great but it's not something that we haven't faced before and we will not let it affect our preparations. We heard they are struggling for good facilities here in any case," W Connection midfielder Clyde Leon said.
"We came here early to settle in and that is what we will do these couple days and then I could expect the sessions to step up a bit as we go into the game.For me it's about having the right attitude and working hard which is what we are here for."
Sunderland midfielder Carlos Edwards will now arrive on Monday, a day later than scheduled due to a family emergency occurrence on Saturday. (Photos show the team in training in Cuba August 16, 2008)