FIFA: A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

Sammy BalContributor IISeptember 6, 2008

Who are the people in this picture taken this Saturday?

Well, even more important is how they know each other.

Let`s deal with the who first. Left to right will give you Jack Warner (FIFA Vice-President) , Joao Havelange (ex-FIFA President), FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning.

So, what would make this little island nation of Trinidad and Tobago so important as to pull Joao Havelange out of retirement, and drag Sepp Blatter and his vice down to visit?

I`m going to leave that up to the reader to decide—but I will provide a brief history on Trinidad and Tobago's football and how these folks probably got to know each other.

Trinidad and Tobago was, and still is, a non-entity as far as world football goes.

However, the island nation hit the spotlight big-time around 1990, when all they needed was a point from their final World Cup qualifier in order to become the smallest nation to go to the tournament.

To do this they would require a draw, playing at home, against the United States, who were at the time as equal a non-entity as their ambitious hosts.

To cut a long story short, the States managed to get a goal and three points. A lobbed ball seemed to bounce and deceive the Trinidad and Tobago goalie, who apparently dived over the line of the ball.

Of course, there were penalties not given and all the other stuff that would just bore you, the reader, so I won't go into every play. 1-0, end of story...or is it?

The U.S.A and FIFA were probably pleased with this result, as it would mean that U.S.A had qualified and would not just be in a World Cup for the sake of hosting it, as would be the case in 1994, the very next Cup.

The American media commented widely about this point back in 1990.

It was no secret that both FIFA and the U.S. were very interested in promoting the sport in America, and there was nothing better than winning a place in the World Cup Final to spur on the popularity.

Joao Havelange retired in 1998 (another golden FIFA year)

Jack Warner went from being president of one of the most insignificant football nations on the planet to Vice-President of FIFA.

Trinidad and Tobago went from invisibility to host World Cup youth tournaments and eventually qualify for the World Cup.

And every now and again everyone gets together for a hug and some reminiscing.

How wonderful a job FIFA does in promoting football both in mega-nations like the U.S.A, and the tiny ones like Trinidad and Tobago.