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Foreign-Based Lucians Get High Marks

Ought Zepherinus Joseph to Slow Down?

St. Lucia Underwhelm in World Cup Win


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Foreign-Based Lucians Get High Marks

    (6 March 2000) - St. Lucia's players in Sunday's World Cup qualifier were drawn from every corner of the island, and (so it seemed) from every corner of the globe. The teams took the first third of the first half to feel each other out, but it's just as likely that the home players were also trying to get a feel for each other: seven players based in Trinidad, Europe or the USA were included in the starting eleven. Two more came off the bench.
    The players based overseas were key for St. Lucia; Edwin Ferdinand made the telling pass to set Rene Regis up for the solitary score. Edwin was all over the pitch, creating, shooting from up to thirty yards out and making crucial defensive stops. Elijah Joseph, from W Connection in Trinidad and Tobago, played well within himself at the heart of the midfield, especially relishing the defensive role he once held with Nothern United.
    Regis, or course, had the game's only goal. Before that, though, he was a dynamo in the five-man midfield, helping fuel the attack with hard running and stout defense. Ricardo Blanchard - who earns his pay in North American "soccer" - forced the goalkeeper to save a shot unleashed from forty yards out. In brief, here are my marks (out of ten) for the thirteen players utilised by St. Lucia's coaches last Sunday:


Abraham Mentor

Is he REALLY the best of a bad lot? Must be a really bad lot!


Francis Lastic

Solid as a rock in defense, missed Warren Hackett behind him.


Timothy George

Surprisingly composed, and unlucky not to score.


Nigel James

Beaten too often, but he recovered well, and was generally able.


Elijah Joseph

Especially strong defensively, useful pushing the ball forward as well.


Ricardo Blanchard

Busy, efficient, enterprising on and off the ball.


Alvin Xavier

Holding his own 'til injury forced him off.


Edwin Ferdinand

Who says American schools don't know football? A revelation.


Rene Regis

Even before he scored, he was superb.


Eric Fannis

Had some good chances, might have done better.


Ken Charlery

Intelligent, skilful, but he can't run with the team.


Sheldon Mark

Nice, but I judge him unfairly against Jn Marie.


Valencius Joseph

Ought to have netted at least once off the bench.


Ought Zepherinus Joseph to Slow Down?

    (5 March 2000) - Fresh off a recent triumph in the 10000m run, Zepherinus Joseph is at it again. The 24-year old from Mon Repos won the 1500m for Central Arizona College in a meet held last weekend at Arizona State University. In the process, Zepherinus equaled his personal, national and course record in the event.
    Zepherinus appears to enjoy running at Arizona State. Competing as a freshman in February 1999, he completed the 1500m in 3:55, breaking his less than six-month old national record. During 1998, he had completed the 1500m in 3:57.33 at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
    That CAC performance paved the way for the scholarship that Zeph currently enjoys, but last year he failed to impress when the Games were held in Barbados. This, following outstanding performances indoors and out at the junior college level, at distances including 800m, 1500m, 5000m and 10000m.
    This is an Olympic year, and Zepherinus is working to make the qualifying marks in any or all of his events. That's a big ask, especially in the grueling Arizona heat. Dominic Johnson, Verneta Lesforis and Ronald Promesse are among the athletes who've said that their real Olympic preparation begins in April or May.
    Is Zeph doing too much? Is he trying to excel too early in the season? The athlete and his coach will have to decide that between themselves, but Zepherinus is ambitious, and he has Sydney firmly in his sights. If he starts concentrating on one or two races, though, he might discover that his vision is clearer.


St. Lucia Underwhelm in World Cup Win

    (5 March 2000) - Our favourite Internet service provider shut down early this morning, giving me a chance to think a little bit more about Sunday's first round World Cup qualifier against Suriname at the Mindoo Philip Park. The St. Lucian national football team defeated Surinam 1-0 in the first leg of their home and away tie. The victory owed much to the abilities of our overseas-based professionals, especially the tenacity and endurance of Edwin Ferdinand-Lawrence. Eventually, though, it was a Dennery midfielder who gave St. Lucia the home team the advantage.
    It was a gem of a goal, Rene Regis working down the right flank in the 56th minute and taking a crisp pass from Ferdinand. Holding the ball up just outside the penalty box, Regis appeared to be trying to decide whether he should shoot or pass. Eventually, he chose the more positive approach, and Roel Tempo - Surinam's custodian - was undone by a powerful shot, low and to the left of the goalkeeper. Regis had created several opportunities for himself and for his teammates during the course of the game, but the one on which he capitalized made all the difference.
    The chance on which Rene scored, though, was hardly the easiest of the game. Valencius Joseph (W Connection, Trinidad) and Eric Fannis (SC Club Nord, Romania) ought to have extended the home team's cushion going into the away leg 19 March. Inexplicably, Footballer of the Year Emmerson Jn Marie never took the pitch. The leading goal scorer in domestic football was not considered as a solution to the dearth of finishing on the day, a move that may return to haunt the coaching staff on the away leg. The Lucians had much the better of the attack, forcing eighteen corners and drawing twelve offside flags, but the goal is the thing.
    Surinam will have used the first leg to feel out their opponents, but the Dutch will see a different St. Lucian team on the continent. Prolific striker Earl Jean is likely to be there from Scottish club Hibernian. Central defender Warren Hackett, from Barnet in England's Division II, is expected to make the journey to Surinam. Goal scoring midfielder Titus Elva ought to have shaken off a leg injury in time for the return match. Those three will give the national side a different feel and focus, as will a four-day camp in Trinidad and Tobago in advance of the game.
    Also likely to make the trip to the continent is a healthy contingent of supporters, perhaps assisted by Black Heart Promotions. The Surinamese brought over a hundred supporters with them, and the FA is hoping that St. Lucians can reciprocate. However many travel with the team for the second leg, they're likely to share the confidence of the coaching staff, as St. Lucia clearly outplayed the younger Surinamese.
    The other story on Sunday was the way the crowd was handled by the St. Lucia FA. The Park was crammed with people, perhaps half of them on their feet - and not by choice. Fifteen minutes into the game, gates were closed, as the FA mulled over allowing more people into the Park. By then, the die had been cast and the tickets sold. The match commissioner said after that it's irregular for people to be standing at a World Cup game, "but FIFA" he said "turns a blind eye in these small countries; we know that your association needs the money."

    St. Lucia: Abraham Mentor; Timothy George, (c) Francis Lastic, Nigel James; Rene Regis, Ricardo Blanchard, Alvin Xavier (Sheldon Mark), Elijah Joseph, Edwin Ferdinand-Lawrence; Ken Charlery (Valencius Joseph), Eric Fannis







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