Watergate overshadows countdown to USA-Trinidad & Tobago game at flooded stadium

Barring unforeseen circumstances, we still expect the USA will wrap up the Hex on Tuesday night.

But U.S. national team players were met by a surprise when they showed up at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Monday for training. The running track at the stadium (named after the great Trinidadian sprinter Ato Boldon) was a moat.

Some players were carried on the backs of staff players to get through the water; others crossed in their bare feet. Bobby Wood put plastic bags over his shoes and walked through the water.

How did the stadium get so flooded and what can be done about it?

Lest we forget, the Caribbean has been devastated by hurricanes and tropical storms this fall even though Trinidad & Tobago, located off the coast from Venezuela, was spared the worst. There was almost another inch of rain in Couva on Sunday night.

Boldon says his first reaction was to be annoyed that Tuesday's game could be impacted by flooding, then he was told about all the rains in the area.

"Stadia flood all over the world so I am looking at it a bit differently now," he told Trinidad's Newsday. "No amount of drainage would have probably helped that situation."

Asked about the reaction to the conditions on social media, Boldon responded, "Everybody thinks global warming is a hoax until it affects something big, or something you do for a living."

Any number of reasons have been given for moving the game from the Hasely Crawford Stadium -- the national stadium in Port of Spain -- to Couva -- where the 10,000-seat stadium was built for the 2001 Under-17 World Cup.

They don't matter now.

It will all be about getting Ato Boldon Stadium ready for Tuesday night. Bruce Arena said the USA couldn't train much on the field, where the flooded conditions extended on to the corners of the field on Monday. T&T coach Dennis Lawrence said he thought the conditions would not be a problem for the two teams.

The Trinidad & Tobago Football Association, with its well-earned reputation for corruption and mismanagement, came in for lots of ridicule on Monday.

Lasana Liburd, the CEO and Editor at who made a career of reporting on the TTFA, noted that Ato Boldon Stadium belongs to the T&T government, not the TTFA, and key executives in charge of maintaining the stadium had been placed on administrative leave on the advice of T&T's Attorney General, which has been investigating allegations of corruption in the Sport Company of Trinidad & Tobago, which oversees T&T sports.

Liburd did not pull any punches on either side:

"Mr Live Wire can only assume that the USSF officials also dice up meat and vegetables for their macho players, cut the ends off their sandwiches and tuck them to bed too. How sweet.

"In Trinidad and Tobago, players don’t even get a visit from their football president when they are nursing gunshot wounds or hospitalised for massive heart attacks."

Can the T&T sports ministry headed by Daryl Smith get the waterlogged ground ready in just 24 hours? That was a legitimate concern, given the Sport Company of Trinidad & Tobago's staffing shortage and the image of a solitary drain pump working away in one corner of the stadium, prompting Liburd to ask:

"Will they send Smith to Couva with a straw?"

3 comments about "Watergate overshadows countdown to USA-Trinidad & Tobago game at flooded stadium".
  1. Bruce Moorhead, October 10, 2017 at 3:44 p.m.

    I like this Lasuna! He gets to the heart of the matter. Mr. Boldon, please stop with the global warming nonsense. It is a junk-science hoax of the highest order to maintain that humans create natural events. Do you really beleive there were no hurricanes thousands of years ago? Learn some science. I've been a climate-science buff since before most of you were born, and there is no "there" there.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, October 10, 2017 at 6:34 p.m.

    Bruce, if you are so well educated, then you know the world is in a warming cycle and that carbon dioxide levels have risen in the oceans and atomosphere. The article doesn't say that human activity is the cause.

    The warming cycle, rising carbon levels, and water on the field are all facts we should not ignore. Your objections won't drain the water from the field today. I would rather talk about soccer. You are free to call it all fake news, but I won't be joining you.

  3. Nick Daverese, October 12, 2017 at 9:53 p.m.

    Bob let’s not get too crazy about the weather. But on that field did they practice on it or not? If it was not sewage they should have practiced on it. Remember westside story the movie. I lived where they shot it. One of the lines in it was Puerto Rico always the hurricanes blowing. That was in 1961. They needed extras for that movie. They paid 50 dollars a day. Rent in those tenements was 30 dollars a month so that was a lot of money back then. There were two gangs there the viceroys a Puerto Rican gang and Red Wing gang mostly Italians. My older brother was a red wing he told them to go —- themselves. I was doing other things not interested in being a follower back then. Loved the music though. 

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