Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Argentines warm to Soca Warriors


HARD AT WORK: Joevin Jones, right races Rundell Winchester to the ball at a training session on Tuesday, on the popular San Lorenzo club grounds. —Photos: Ian Prescott.

Mark Fraser

Temperatures are bitterly cold, but Argentines have generally warmed to the Trinidad and Tobago national footballers. Ahead of the Soca Warriors’ historic friendly international against their hosts in Buenos Aires last evening, they trained this week on the ground of the popular San Lorenzo club, in an area which the locals warned was “dangerous” and which is surrounded by a notorious ghetto.

The team had a police escort both days training there, and a heavy police detail the first day. But all who surrounded the training pitch were friendly and full of advice on realising that they were the “selecion de Trinidad y Tobago.”

Most knew nothing about T&T, but they all loved football.

One conveyed a group message: “Tell them we wish them all the best.“

The T&T footballers would have needed it.

On the team bus headed back in the drive of more than an hour to Buenos Aires following the final training session on Tuesday, one of the Soca Warriors commented that more Argentines had come to see them train, than the Trinidadians who regularly go to local Pro League matches.

Kenwyne Jones, Willis Plaza and other players also took personal photos with Argentines who were attached to the team and wanted to preserve the moment when they met the T&T footballers.

Greetings aside, Argentina is a cold place this time of the year. Autumn leaves are falling everywhere, and temperatures are predicted to drop to zero degrees in two days’ time. Everyone was cold, some non-players were wearing multiple pieces of clothing to keep warm. Of his players, head-coach Hart says only the Europe-based would be comfortable.

“The rest have to adjust.”