Trinidad and Tobago’s players jubilate after scoring their first goal against Bahrain during their World Cup 2006 match in Manama 16 November 2005. Trinidad beat Bahrain 1-0 to qualify for the World Cup. They sealed their ticket with a 2-1 play-off aggregate win after the first-leg had ended 1-1 in Port-of-Spain on October 12.
The day T&T qualified for the World Cup was even more special to members of the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force as many of us were on duty at the Stadium for every game played locally leading up to that day. During the campaign, we saw cadets as young as 13 years old perform heroically.
Leading up to the final day of qualification, Cadet Force adults and cadets performed varying roles including crowd control,
One Lance Corporal stood stoutly on November 12th, the day of the first leg of the two-game playoff between Trinidad and Tobago and Bahrain, instructing his peers to brace the crowd as they performed crowd control duties at one of the gates. I recall being impressed with his commanding tone and resolve as he prepared his peers for what was coming. As some men (averaging in their thirties) advanced, he powerfully told them to stand back or find out what Cadets could do.
They stopped abruptly, puzzled, as some nearby ladies doubled in laughter at how these adult men had their plans to ‘storm’ the game foiled by teens in uniform.
Had the TTCF had its photographers or Public Affairs staff in those days, we may have had photos of the fateful day.
(If you or someone you know has photos of yourself, your peers or other TTCF personnel on duty during those games, please share them with us.)
Those cadets and adults gave yoeman service during that period. Unfortunately, only those who were there knew about it.
Winning the game and a place in the World Cup wasn’t the only victory of that World Cup campaign. Those young people who served their national football team and by extension their country to help to keep order were also victorious.
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Cover Image: Photo by RABIH MOGHRABI/AFP/Getty Images