Brazil fever takes over Hasely Crawford Stadium for Legends of Football

Football fans react during the Legends of Football match between Legends and TT All-Stars at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, on May 10, 2024. - AYANNA KINSALE
Football fans react during the Legends of Football match between Legends and TT All-Stars at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, on May 10, 2024. - AYANNA KINSALE

THE near-capacity crowd that showed up to watch a match between the Legends and TT All-Stars on Friday demonstrated the admiration that TT has for Brazilian footballers.

The Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, with a capacity of around 23,000, was 70 per cent full.

When the names of the players were announced it was clear that most of the fans in attendance came to see Brazilian quartet Cafu, Kaka, Rivaldo and Edmilson. The crowd cheered for the South Americans when the teams were named.

The four Brazilians were all part of the Brazil team that won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Cafu as the captain.

TT has loved Brazilian footballers for decades as the flair they play with is unmatched.

The love was especially evident after the game.

After the match ended 5-5, the players did a lap around the track with many taking the time to greet the adoring fans.

Youngsters, who were not born when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup, positioned themselves near the running track to get an autograph or take a selfie.

Kaka and Cafu were the most popular Brazilian footballers on show with most fans trying to get their attention as security tried to keep order. The children came prepared as many of them walked with t-shirts to get them signed.

Some lucky fans were also allowed to go on the field after the match, giving them another chance to get a photograph with the TT and Brazilian legends.

Kaka did not disappoint, scoring a hat-trick for the Legends. The Legends team also had former stars of local football as Russell Latapy, Dwight Yorke, Carlos Edwards, goalkeeper Kelvin Jack, and Kenwyne Jones all thrilled the fans. The event was organised by Latapy, through the Russell Latapy Education and Sports Foundation and media house I95.5FM.

After the match, Yorke said he was glad to play alongside world-class players. “I have been very blessed that I could have played against these guys and I know them personally as friends.”

Yorke, a former Manchester United striker, played against Rivaldo when the latter was at FC Barcelona.

“To attract such a status in our game, these kind of players…Rivaldo, who I played head-to-head with against Barcelona on a few occasions. It is good to see the public come out and give their support and get to see them close up a little bit.”

Kenwyne was elated to be a part of a memorable moment.

He said, “I think the event itself was a success. I especially like the fact that we were able to have a lot of guys who would have played for the national team, playing on the TT All-Stars. They would have been able to come together to play and at least to be appreciated by the crowd.”

They say form is temporary and class is permanent. Many of the legends on show did not have the pace they once had, but the slick passing and vision shown by the players made the outing worthwhile for the patrons.

Latapy, known as the Little Magician, still showed he has quality by playing a neat through ball to Kevin Molino in the dying seconds as the Legends scored to tie the match 5-5.

The TT All-Stars, featuring younger players, played at a faster pace. The squad included the likes of Densill Theobald, Cornell Glen, Collin Samuel, Keon Daniel, Anthony Wolfe, Hayden Tinto and Joevin Jones. Wolfe, one of the younger players on show, netted a hat-trick for the All-Stars. The All-Stars also had players from the Strike Squad days with captain Clayton Morris and Leonson Lewis among them.

One of the best moments of the night was when Cafu scored. After scoring he ran to the track. About 30 children then found themselves on the track and celebrated with Cafu as though he had just scored the winning goal at the 2002 World Cup.

It was certainly a moment the youngsters would never forget.


"Brazil fever takes over Hasely Crawford Stadium for Legends of Football"

More in this section