|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 58 - Friday May 28, 2004|
|Dominica versus Mexico |
Once every several years, in the life of a Nation something so dramatic and unforeseen happens that this event carves out a unique and forever to be remembered place in the annals of the country’s history. In the case of Dominica, we always so easily remember such occurrences.
Hurricane David, the events of May 29, 1979, the sudden death of late Prime Minister Roosevelt Douglas, and the Morne Prosper accident to name a few. With regard to sports, we remember Irving Shillingford’s 177 against the Pakistanis in his first Test Match for the West Indies.
Dominica once more appears poised to make history when it takes on football great Mexico, first on June 19 in San Antonio Texas, and one week later in Mexico City. This battle is already been described as a modern day David versus Goliath. For one thing, only four football nations are currently ranked above Mexico, Dominica is considered to be better than only eighteen. Ranked 185 out of 185 countries back in December 2003, the side has vaulted up the standings an impressive 19 places since.
This confrontation was not supposed to happen. There are currently no respectable football playing fields in Dominica, and none of the players are playing professionally. The fact that it has happened is testament to the abundance of raw sporting talent in Dominica, hard work, and a football association that saw the wisdom of expanding playing opportunities to players outside of Roseau, the capital city.
Just a few years ago, and in large part to the efforts of former Prime Minister Patrick John, the current president of the Dominica Football Association, Dominica became a member of FIFA, the world football federation. With a yearly infusion of over $US 100,000 from FIFA, coaches could be trained, football clinics could be held and the overall health of the sport could be rapidly improved.
In April, in the first of the seeming impossibilities, Dominica beat Bahamas 3 – 1 and came back to tie the second game 1- 1, thus winning the first qualifying leg of their quest to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Now the battle lines are drawn. On June 19 they will face football crazy Mexico, a country of 120 million screaming fans. Needless to say the chorus of support of Dominica’s 70, 000 will be hopelessly drowned.
Many will argue that the outcome on the field is certain. Dominica should expect to be crushed by the sheer weight of this football giant. One thing is certain. Our kids will show up to play. They have nothing to lose. Mexico is the one that needs to prove that it can dispatch a country that only three years ago could not even beat St. Lucia or Grenada.
Whatever the outcome, I will join hundreds, hopefully thousands of Dominicans in San Antonio, who will be screaming and shouting, mainly for pride of place, celebrating a wonderful country that despite its myriad limitations always goes beyond itself, stretching the limits of what is and what can be. And certainly to witness history in the making.
Editor's Note: Look for highlights, pictures and commentary on this historic game from The Dominican.net all of next week