Golden Jaguars fail to break Twin-Island Republic jinx

By Charwayne Walker

Firstly, congratulations must be extended to Coach Wayne `Wiggy’ Dover and his charges for a hard-fought draw against the Soca Warriors at the Ato Boldon Stadium on November 14, 2017.

Strangely enough, it was also in the month of November that the Land of Many Waters last defeated the Soca Warriors in the Twin-Island Republic.

The year was 1947 and playing under the captaincy of Georgetown Football Club’s Maurice Pollard, the Land of the Majestic Kaieteur Falls humbled the hosts by two goals to one.

Playing in front of 10,500 fans at the Queen’s Park Savanah, Cecil (Bruiser) Thomas’s header, midway in the first-half, put British Guiana ahead.

Unfortunately, in the second-half, Jimmy Parkes was penalized for handling the ball in the box.

Trinidad’s forward White converted the penalty to level the score. Ten minutes later, Trinidad’s full back Parson sliced a thunderbolt from Mannie DaSilva into his own goal that gave British Guiana the lead which was never relinquished.

The next time the two countries clashed in the Twin-Island Republic was May 1959.

Trinidad, led by Patrick Gomez, destroyed the Hubert Braithwaite-led British Guiana team 3-0 at Skinner Park. The hosts went on to win the Quadrangular Tournament that also featured Jamaica and Barbados.

Earl O’Neal’s men were the next ambassadors that failed to break the Port-of-Spain jinx.

The year was 1978. The hosts won a two-match Goodwill Series, winning May 9 by a 5-1 margin and two days later on May 11 winning 4-0.

Earl O’Neal was again wearing the captaincy armband in October, 1980 when the rivals clashed again in Port-of-Spain in a friendly two-match series.  Guyana and the host played to a one all draw in the Series opener on October 22 at Skinner’s Park. The goal scorers were Keith Smartt for Guyana and Leroy Spann for the Soca Warriors. In the series decider, two days later, the hosts, behind goals from Junior Phillips and Brian John humbled Guyana 2-0.

Three years later in 1983, Guyana led by Pele F.C’s Terrence Archer loss two friendly internationals at Skinner’s Park to the host.

The Port of Spain dominance continued the following year 1984 when the Gordon (Ultimate Warrior) Braithwaite led Guyana squad loss 3-1 at Arima. The late Trevor (Lannie) Maxwell was the Guyanese goal scorer.

The next time two teams met in Trinidad was April 1988 when the debutant Andrew Grogan led national squad loss a World Cup qualifier one-nil at Arima. Jermaine Smartt was the man wearing the captaincy armband when the Port-of-Spain magic continued. This time the result was 3-0. The tournament was the 1997 Shell Caribbean Cup playoffs in Port-of-Spain. The Charles Pollard-led squad came close to breaking the Port-of-Spain jinx in 2008. Guyana was leading 1-0 after a Randolph Jerome strike early in the second-half silenced the partisan crowd at the Marvin Lee Stadium but with five minutes remaining in the contest Devon Jorsling found the back of the Guyana net to even the score and earned his team a hard fought draw. That result eliminated Guyana from the 2008 Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals in Jamaica.

The next time the two countries met in Port-of-Spain, the host won a World Cup Qualifier 3-0 in 2011.

So, the million dollar question being asked by football diehards is will the GFF, buoyed by the encouraging showing by Coach Dover’s charges arrange a Goodwill Series in Port-of-Spain against the Soca Warriors in 2018 with more chemistry and togetherness and the belief in playing for each other so the 70-year-old Twin-Island Republic jinx could be broken?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The historic British Guiana team that last defeated Trinidad in the Twin Island Republic in 1947: Maurice Pollard –Captain, Cecil (Bruiser) Thomas, Mannie DaSilva, Egbert Vandergen, John Nestor, Hamel Smith, Jimmy Parkes, Ted Nurse –Goal Keeper, A.  Adams, R. Small, M. Desouza, A. Baptiste, N. Roberts, A. Harris, J. Teixeira, J. E. Gonsalves –Manager.

The 1959 British Guiana Team: Hubert Braithwaite –Captain, Monty Hope,

George Greene, Compton Julien, Harold Blenman, Kenrick Hinds, Lewis (Water Boat) Weithers, Albert Mendonca, Herman McGowan, Cassar Bourne A. Cambell, Patsy Pieters, Baige Devonish, Pico Steward and Herman D’ Andrade.

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