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    CHRONO SPORTS

  • Friday, May 12, 2000

    Pressure is forcing Trinidad to play ball

    By TONY MARASCHIELLO -- Toronto Sun

      Canada's important exhibition match against Trinidad and Tobago later this month will go ahead as planned.

     Canadian Soccer Association officials met with Football Confederation (formerly CONCACAF) president Jack Warner in the Bahamas yesterday and confirmed the May 27 friendly at Varsity Stadium.

     Trinidad would have faced stiff fines from FIFA if it did not honour its contract to play Canada.

     "I can't even begin to think what would happen if they didn't play," CSA communications manager Morgan Quarry said.

     New Trinidad coach Ian Porterfield said this week that he wanted to cancel the game against Canada. The Scottish-born coach felt it was unwise to play an exhibition game against a potential opponent in World Cup qualifying.

     Canada beat Trinidad 1-0 in their most recent meeting, the semi-finals of the Gold Cup in February.

     Canadian soccer officials, who already had sold 6,000 tickets to the game, were miffed after finding out about Porterfield's intentions through a Trinidadian newspaper.

     However, CSA president Jim Fleming and chief operating officer Kevan Pipe sorted out the matter at the Football Confederation meetings yesterday.

     Canadian coach Holger Osieck has said he needed the exhibition match to prepare his players for World Cup qualifying games in June.

     "Realistically, they signed a contract to play us and there is no way out," Osieck said. "As far as I am concerned, the game is on."

     CSA officials were told yesterday that Trinidad plans to bring a strong lineup, possibly including star striker Dwight Yorke.

     Quarry said fewer than 2,000 tickets were available for the game.



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