RENDEZVOUS in KINGSTON NATIONAL STADIUM
I MAN entered the National Stadium through the player gate…as Neville Oxford…the ‘captain’ of the Jamaican Masters team determined who would enter…he looked at I MAN askedly, like…who are you…though he probably knew my face from the Masters League competition…I MAN just say, “ whap’n Erks…his ancient football name that goes back to his days at KC…and just pushed by…giving myself access to the MacDonald Tunnel and a direct route to the Royal box.
After getting past the technical difficulties…I walked down the MacDonald Tunnel as crowd of people moved between the changing rooms and the end of the tunnel. At the foot of the MacDonald Tunnel I looked up into the Royal Box and there sat the KING, his attorney at law, the Brazilian ambassador, JFF president Horace Burrell and other dignitaires…as I looked up…Pele’s attorney signaled that I come up to the box and allow him to fulfill his promise…
At the top of the line that led to the Royal Box was one of Jamaica’s pioneers in club soccer overseas. Doc McKenzie too had come to pay homage to the ‘great man’ holding ‘his famous photo’ taken while playing against PELE in North America. Doc McKenzie is one of the early Jamaican pioneers in US college soccer (Oneonta College) and one of the first modern player (1970s) to play in Europe…when Doc was complete with his re-acquaintance with the King, Pele’s lawyer signaled for space to be made to allow IMAN to come up and be first introduced to the Brazilian ambassador and to be officially re-united with the KING…..…allowing IMAN to show the King InI team shot and training pics…which he readily offered to sign…the photos racked the King’s mind…as he stared into deep space…recalling his days with the New York COSMOS..
I could see him making the reconnection through time and space…After deep reflection, the KING offered to autography our training picture. See below. This was just absolutely unplanned and mind blowing.
The game of football gained instant appeal wherever it was played including the Caribbean where British soldiers and settlers introduced the sport as recreational play. Interestingly, organized sport and its diffusion into the Caribbean were never accompanied by the culture of professionalism or business/ industry; barring the ‘sport of kings’.
The ethos of the English public schools of the second half of the 19th century, to a large extent had a deep influence on the development of many sporting teams, in Africa and the Caribbean. They sold a subscription on the old Greek and Roman conviction that sport plays an important part of the education – a healthy mind in a healthy body. In this ethos, to participate is more important than winning.
The Olympic Football Tournament acted as the world’s premiere football championships for the first three decades of the twentieth century. In terms of international development, the Olympic Games signaled the first participation in a major Championship of a team from South America.
The Olympic Games
The ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring both Zeus and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. The winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues.
The modern Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. The first Games held under the auspices of the IOC were hosted in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens in 1896. In terms of international development, the Olympic Games signaled the first participation in a major Championship of a team from South America, Uruguay.
The Uruguayans had comfortably won the 1923 South American Championship in the December of the previous year to qualify for the tournament as their continent’s sole participants; defeating bitter rivals Argentina 2-0 in the final game.
Football at the 1924 Summer Olympics
Uruguay’s first participation in the Olympics was in Paris, France, in 1924. In that year, Uruguay won its first gold medal, beating Yugoslavia 7–0, United States 3–0, France 5–1, Netherlands 2–1, and in the Final defeating Switzerland 3–0.
In Paris Jose Leandro Andrade would be dubbed La Marveille Noire (Black Pearl).
1928 Summer Olympics
Uruguay’s second participation in the Olympics was in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1928. In the final the Swiss proved no match, ultimately, for the Uruguayans whose two goals in the second half put paid to their opponent’s ambitions, Uruguay eventually prevailing 3–0. Interest in the final had been considerable, such was the draw of the Uruguayan side; 60,000 watched and 10,000 were locked out.
1948 – 1952 OLYMPICS
In the 1948 and 1952 OLYMPIC GAMES, the Jamaican-Identity was established/globalized in the international sphere of sport with the ‘medalling’ of our athletes: Mckenley, Laing, Wint, and Rhoden. The cultures of Track and Field Athletics and the OLYMPIC GAMES have played critical roles in the success of Jamaica at the regional and international level of sports.
HAITI’s first match pitted the small Caribbean island taking on the might of Europe (Italy). Italy were winners of the second World Cup played in 1934 and runners-up in the 1970 Finals against the thePele led Brazilian champion team. HAITI on paper were no match for the experienced Italians. Likewise on paper, Haile Selassie was no match for Mussolini.
The opening match against HAITI was the legendary Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff’s 32nd birthday. A minute into the second half after 1,142 minutes or 19 hours and 2 minutes, the Italian net bulged. Haitian Emmanuel SANON claimed his place in World Cup history and in the hearts of millions of Haitian fans by giving HAITI the lead against the legendary Italian goal keeper. The Italians had not conceded in any friendlies and did not concede a single goal in Bthe six matches of the qualifying tournament. Going into the tournament, it was 1,096 minutes since Zoff had last been beaten.
SANON, a powerfully built and spiritedly aggressive forward from Port au Prince did what some of the greatest players had failed to do in Zoff’s 12 previous games for Italy. According to SANON, “with my pace, you can’t leave me with just one defender but that is what happened. I was one-on-one with Spinosi. I received a pass from Phillipe Vorbe. I beat the defender with my speed. One-on-one with Dino Zoff, I dummied to go left, and then went right. I rounded him, and rolled the ball into the net”.
In four years, SANON scored 47 of the 106 goals scored by the Haitian national team.SANON went on to a successful career with Beershcoot of Antwerp in Belgium. After7 years in Antwerp and 16 in the USA,MANNO returned to live in HAITI to help(as a trainer) in the revitalization of Haitian football.