Thursday 1st March, 2007

 

Warner: The world expects Windies to fail at W Cup

 
 
 
 
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Winner
Former West Indies fast bowler Anthony Gray presents a bat to Malaika Moore of Courts. Ms Moore attended the closing ceremony of the symposium where two bats sponsored by West Indies captain Brian Lara was drawn from among participants, sponsors and guests who were present. Gray was one of the facilitators and made the presentation. Photo: Lester Forde

By Robertson S Henry

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner told a gathering of some of the region’s leading sports journalists that the world has predicted failure in all areas for the West Indies at the upcoming World Cup.

They have predicted for us to fail on the field of play, and they also want us to fail off the field of play.”

He blasted the organisers for the marketing of the events, labelling it as “atrocious” since the event was government funded, so they do not have to worry about money.

If they had to pick up the tab, then they would have been marketing the event as a religion,” Warner thundered from the podium.

According to Warner, excellence in T&T is a bad word; “We even have a Centre for it.”

Warner then sunk his teeth into the many shortcomings into the overall organisation of the event. He noted that mere weeks after the hosting of the Trinidad Carnival, there was not a Carnival Village for persons to go to.

Imagine just mere weeks after the hosting of the Trinidad Carnival, there is not a Calypso Tent for persons to go to.

Warner said he was disappointed that the only person who called on his expertise and vast knowledge was the Prime Minister of St Kitts/Nevis. “We are so immersed in politics that we fail to se the bigger picture.”

He was of the firm belief that “This Cricket World Cup was thrust upon us. Some of the islands should be hosting Cricket World Cup matches. Their monies should have been spent to make life better for their people.”

Warner said he was concerned for the thousands of persons who will be in the Caribbean and the millions who will be following the games in the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup 2007.

What the world expects is much more than cricket,” Warner told a captive audience. “They expect passion, they expect excitement.”

The outspoken football official said that the world expects to see excellence on the field and a tournament that met international standards.

He agreed with former West Indies fast bowlers Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh that it was wrong to develop the sport by bringing in the small countries to play alongside the top ones.

He alluded to the many countries that are not in the same league as the top eight cricket playing countries, while in football, all countries have to play a series of qualifying matches in order to qualify to play in the FIFA World Cup Finals.

The world expects to see other things as well,” said Warner. “Will their expectations be fulfilled?”

Beautiful and clean beaches, warm days, clean hotels, good local food, cheap shopping, and local tours are some of the expectations of the thousands of visitors to the Caribbean for the Cricket World Cup, according to the FIFA vice-president.

They expect good security, hassle free travel, and very little trouble to get into the venue, along with the social events around the cricket, with the region’s indigenous music being the main stay.”

Warner questioned whether the hotels held seminars for their workers to improve upon their service to guests.

In praising the organisers of ‘Thinking Sport,” he noted that nothing was done for sports journalists.

Instead of talking down to journalists, they should be talking to us.”

Warner wondered if the tourists were told the truth about the unsafe areas in our countries.

Warner added that he was vilified when he said many years ago that the five-day version of the game at the highest level was under threat.

Test cricket is dying, I maintain, not cricket, as we shall see during the next few weeks.”

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