Members of the Miscellaneous Group led by its founder and CEO Sham Mohammed were centre and present at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia. Mohammed and members of his oranization including guests from the United States and Trinidad and Tobago as well as Russia attended the Final and Semi Final matches at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
“It was an amazing experience to be at what I would describe as perhaps one of the most exciting and well staged World Cups in history,”Mohammed said. “We had an opportunity to not only experience the best that Russia had to offer off the field of play along with some really entertaining matches but we used the opportunity to meet with some influential people and build our networks as the work continues for us after this World Cup. Generally everything went according to plan and I will certainly be looking to have return trips to Russia in the future. We felt most welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed our time there,” Mohammed added. The Project Patois Movement, a Caribbean-based community empowering group was also part of the contingent led by Mohammed’s son Armis.
The following is a piece published in the Trinidad and Tobago media by one of our members Shaun Fuentes
WITNESSING the final of one of the most entertaining World Cups was nothing but a truly remarkable and epic experience.
Considering the fact that TT were at one point contenders for qualification for what is the world’s biggest and most popular sporting event, it was always going to be a tough ask as to whether one should in fact make the journey to Russia. But in the end, there was nothing that should have doubted my decision to be here.
Experiencing the pulsating action on television was great, but being here on Russian turf was beyond expectations. Passionate fans who love the game from all parts of the globe, who proudly wear their country’s crest, whose hearts pound with every kick of the ball, assembling was indeed fantastic.
The days leading up to the final was a worldwide carnival. Red Square brought thousands of fans together in various forms and styles. On the night of the second semifinal in which Croatia defeated England, fans from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, France and yes, even Trinidad and Tobago hoisted flags and sang until 3am. And this continued with supporters of finalists France and Croatia leading the pack on Saturday and Sunday.
There were at least six other Trinis here with me in Moscow for the final, Sham Mohammed and his son Armis from the Project Patois movement, Zia Mohammed and his brothers, former national midfielder Brent Rahim – now a FIFA Futsal development officer – and TT Football Association president David John-Williams were also among those present.
This was my fourth successive World Cup appearance. I was lucky and privileged enough to go as TT’s media officer in 2006 and to serve as a FIFA media officer in South Africa 2010 which was intense, but this time I was determined to enjoy the experience in every aspect as a fan and guest. And boy did I do just that.
Of course being a Trini here, we had to represent. On Saturday evening, we got our cab driver to blast soca as we made it through traffic around Red Square, much to the delight of a few pedestrians who tried to step to the beat on the pavements. We also heard music from Denise Belfon and Bunji Garlin and Major Lazer at popular nightclubs Icon, Gypsy and Rolling Stones. There was also a TT flag hanging from the ceiling of a popular pub near Red Square. We had to get up on the bar counter to get a photo near the flag and security tried to prevent it, but you know we Trinis always find a way to pull things off.
FIFA and the local organizing committee did a tremendous job in getting things right. From traffic management to security, fan hospitality, airport arrival, stadium entrance and departure, and matchday experience were superb. The only mishap was perhaps the four pitch invaders in the second half at Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.
The action in and around the pitch at Sunday’s final was scintillating.
We saw Will Smith and Nicky Jam grace the closing ceremony as well as FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Russian President Vladamir Putin and Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović right before us. There were also former greats Ronaldinho, Diego Maradona, Mario Kempes, Maldini and others in the mix. But what could top seeing first hand Kylian Mbappe being the youngest player since Pele to score and help his team to victory in a World Cup final. Not to forget seeing Didier Deschamps become the to win the World Cup as both player and manager.
Later on Sunday came the news that Putin announced that foreign supporters who currently have fan IDs will be able to benefit from multiple entries into the Russian Federation without a visa until the end of the year.
But for now, football heaven has been all bliss for the past few days. Qatar you are next in four years!