FIFA comes to Trinidad

This September, Trinidad and Tobago host the 8th FIFA Under-17 World Championship. Five new stadiums have been prepared for this grand moment, from which football lovers can expect to glimpse the next Yorke, Verón, Beckham. By Georgia Popplewell

  • Trinidad and Tobago Under- 17 football team. Photograph by Naimchand Bissessar/ TTFF/ COTT

Trinidad and Tobago is an old hand at staging large-scale events. Each year the country’s famous Carnival erupts in a whirlwind of rhythm and colour as thousands take to the streets in costume, and in 1999 the country was the venue for the Miss Universe Pageant. This September, the twin-island nation can add an international football tournament to its résumé, when, from September 13-30, it plays host to the future stars of world football during the 8th FIFA Under-17 World Championship.

Trinidad and Tobago is the first Caribbean nation to have been chosen as a venue for this prestigious youth event. Sixteen teams (see box), including Trinidad and Tobago’s Team 2001, will vie for the Championship title, which is currently held by football powerhouse Brazil.

Local football fans and the many visitors expected for the event will converge upon the five FIFA-standard playing facilities that have been specially prepared for the tournament, hoping for a glimpse of the next Pélé or Maradona. These stadia, four of which were built from scratch, have been sited at strategic locations across  Trinidad and Tobago, and have given the country the opportunity to pay tribute to five of its outstanding sporting personalities: 1976 Olympic 100m gold medallist Hasely Crawford (National Stadium, Port of Spain); sprinter Ato Boldon (Couva, central Trinidad); West Indies Test cricketer Larry Gomes (Arima, eastern Trinidad); Manny Ramjohn, who brought the country its first gold medal in 1946 (Marabella, south Trinidad); and Manchester United footballer Dwight Yorke (Bacolet, Tobago).

The Championship will kick off on 13 September with a grand opening ceremony. Coming from the people who stage an annual Carnival dubbed “The Greatest Show on Earth”, this alone should be something to see.

FIFA UNDER-17 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES

13/9/01 T&T vs Croatia 7:30pm Port of Spain

14/9/01 USA vs Japan 4:00pm Tobago

14/9/01 France vs Nigeria 6:30pm Tobago

14/9/01Australia vs Brazil 6:00pm Port of Spain

15/9/01 Oman vs Spain 4:00pm Couva/Marabella

15/9/01 Argentina vs Burkino Faso 6:30pm Couva/Marabella

15/9/01 Mali vs Paraguay 4:00pm Arima

15/9/01 Iran vs Costa Rica 6:30pm Arima

16/9/01 Japan vs Nigeria 5:00pm Tobago

16/9/01 USA vs France 7:30pm Tobago

16/9/01 T&T vs Australia 5:00pm Port of Spain

16/9/01 Croatia vs Brazil 7:30pm Port of Spain

17/9/01 Spain vs Burkino Faso, 5:00pm Couva/Marabella

17/9/01 Oman vs Argentina 7:30pm Couva/Marabella

17/9/01 Paraguay vs Iran 5:00pm Arima

18/9/01 Rest Day

19/9/01 Nigeria vs USA 5:00pm Tobago

19/9/01 Japan vs France 7:30pm Tobago

19/9/01 Brazil vs T&T 5:00pm Port of Spain

19/9/01 Croatia vs Australia 7:30pm Port of Spain

20/9/01 Burkino Faso vs Oman 5:00pm Couva/Marabella

20/9/01 Spain vs Argentina 7:30pm Couva/Marabella

20/9/01 Costa Rica vs Mali 5:00pm Arima

20/9/01 Paraguay vs Iran 7:30pm Arima

QUARTER FINALS

23/9/01 5:00pm and 7:30pm

24/9/01 5:00pm and 7:30pm

SEMI FINALS

27/9/01 5:00pm and 7:30pm

THIRD PLACE PLAYOFF

30/9/013:00pm Port of Spain

FINAL

30/9/01 6:00pm Port of Spain