The Smallest Warriors


© Everald Cummings

For the past week the World Cup has taken center stage across the world and for good reason. This is the culmination of a three and a half year qualifying journey that began with 205 nations/autonomous regions. So much attention is given to the star players and the traditional contenders, but there are always other amazing stories—the “small” teams who capture the imagination of their people by defying all the odds. Typically these countries have little, if no international political or economic power, so just even coming close to qualifying can fill a nation with new found pride. This was the case in Trinidad and Tobago during the World Cup qualifying for Italia 90. Their team dubbed the “Soca Warriors,” who were led by Dwight York and the “Strike Squad”, were in position to qualify for the first time ever (remember this was when when the final was still 24 teams). It came down to their last qualifier against the USA in T&T. They only needed to draw to make it to Italy. The USA had to win in order to qualify. This soca tune by Sound Revolution, taken from a record called Ship Talk (I’ll spare you the cover), not only lets you know what happened, but more importantly expresses the hope the Soca Warriors gave to their islands. Enjoy.

’94 For Sure by Sound Revolution

’94 For Sure


As you may well remember T&T didn’t qualify in ’94 either. However in 2006, the Soca Warriors finally qualified for the World Cup Finals in Germany and became the smallest country to ever qualify.


Fútbol on the radio

9969839-Renato futbol

La Pelanga is, technically, a music blog, but the World Cup starts tomorrow, and seeing as all the pelangueros are fútbol fans, I thought I’d post this. Last week, I wrote a piece for The New Republic about my father’s brief career as a radio broadcaster, calling soccer matches back in Arequipa, Peru when he was still in his teens. I also recorded this interview, and asked him to try his hand at it again. So, toward the end of this podcast, you can hear my father, Renato, calling a game between Peru and Brazil, a match that actually took place in the 1950s, memorable because we actually won. (By we, I mean Peru, of course.) My father hadn’t called a game like this in some fifty years, so I’d say he sounds pretty great.

Mil gracias, Pa! Saludos to all the fútbol fans out there. I’ll be writing about the tournament on the The New Republic’s Goal Post blog. You can read my first post, about how hard I’m finding it to root for Maradonna here.

The photo shows a team my father coached, Corazón Independiente, circa 1955. He’s standing, second from the left, with his arm around my grandmother. Next to her is my aunt Vilma.

Enjoy the World Cup!

Interview With Renato Alarcón I by Renato Alarcón

Interview with Renato Alarcon

— juancho