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Qlamqtar 2022 FIFA World Cup | Profile | TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS: Conch. Conch fucking everywhere.

***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***

The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about three moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.

But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Turks and Caicos Islands, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.

With distractions such as conch, crayfish and flowering cactus Turks and Caicos islands have next to no time for soccer

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
Conch. Conch fucking everywhere.

Nickname: TCI Team
FIFA Ranking: 206 (August 2022)

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from first round group stage (CONCACAF), finishing 4th below Haiti, Nicaragua and Belize

One of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ most beloved dishes is conch (pronounced ‘konk’), the sea snail that is extracted from the Islands’ ubiquitous conch shell. It’s GD everywhere. Everyone’s talking about. Everyone’s thinking about it. Everyone’s reading about it in the daily news. It’s on the goddamn flag and it’s everywhere else. Wherever you look, there’s conch. It’s all there is to eat. It’s the only thing to talk about. It’s the main issue concerning the locals. It’s the number one subject of local documentaries and soap operas. Everywhere you look there’s conch; it’s in the food, in the souvenir stores, it’s on the beach, it’s in the room you’re staying, in the bathroom, its on the walls, its in the jewellery, you can’t stop thinking about it, and when you go to bed it’s all you dream about. Basically, conch is everywhere you go and everywhere you look-you can’t escape the conch.

Turks and Caicos Islanders are required to carry their personal ID shells at all times

Now, normally this would be nothing other than a charming touristic quirk, but this abundance of conch is a major hurdle for the national soccer team, as its players can’t take two steps without stepping on a freaking conch shell. And due to limited availability of equipment such as training balls, players often end up just practicing with the conch shells too, instead of size-5 FIFA-approved standard soccer balls.

Some might say that it’s a lack of resources, tiny talent pool from which to choose its players, or simply a lack of competitive experience that’s to blame for the side never advancing past their first hurdle in World Cup qualification–its won just the one World Cup qualifying match in its history (against Saint Lucia in qualifying for South Africa 2010, an eventual loss on aggregate) and won only eight games overall. However the truth is far more simple–it’s because of the conch.

Training on pitches littered with conch shells and practicing team drills or headers or free kicks with conch shells instead of balls has left Turks and Caicos Islands ill-prepared and disoriented on every occasion they’ve taken the field away from home against opponents whose pitches do not have conch shells strewn across them or that do not use the high spired and noticeable siphonal canalled housing of marine gastropod molluscs as the match ball.

Fortunately, there’s still over a year till qualifying for the 2026 World Cup gets under way, and while this should be enough time for its national soccer association to clear the conch shells off its training fields and source a few actual FIFA-approved balls to use instead of conch shells, only time will tell.

Grassroots development faces many challenges in Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly the amount of conch shells everywhere

One to watch: That the handsaw you play in your ripsaw band doesn’t eviscerate you or slice open your eyeballs

This doesn’t really concern you if you play bass, guitar, drums or are the singer in a local Turks and Caicos ripsaw band, but if you’re the one playing the handsaw you’re gonna watch out that you not only stay in time with your bandmembers but also that the rusty jagged teeth of the saw don’t suddenly spring out and slice your stomach open or rip open your eyeballs. In fact, local musicians will tell you that if you’re the guy on saw, staying in time with your bandmates is just as important as not getting a rusty old handtool lodged in your neck and then dying on stage due to exsanguination.

One of Turks and Caicos most famous musicians shares his insight into how to play ripsaw music as well as how to stay alive

The Highpoint: TCI’s first ever (and only) win in World Cup qualifying, against Saint Lucia, marred by rain (and also a loss on aggregate)

Turks and Caicos Island national team fans and players alike will never forget the rain on that night in 2008

Back in February 2008, light rain fell on the night that Turks and Caicos won their only ever World Cup qualifying match against Saint Lucia, which as the voiceover recounts in the highlights below, ‘marred’ the evening. Completing a stunning victory and landmark achievement for the tiny island nation, ultimately, TCI was left devastated, all due to the light rain that fell during the evening’s proceedings. To this day, fans of the national team recount the tale of that night and the one thing that they’ll never forget–the drizzle that fell during the game, not the TCI Team notching its maiden W in the World Cup. Disappointingly, they then went on to drop the second leg 2-0 in Saint Lucia, knocking them out of contention as a result. However, the tie will forever go down in Turks and Caicos history for one reason and one reason only: the light shower on that night at the National Stadium in Providenciales.

Learn the lingo & speak like a local!

By the age of 10, kids in the Turks and Caicos Islands are more conch-savvy than their parents

Upcoming matches

CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE & CONCACAF GOLD CUP 2023 QUALIFYING
25 March 2023
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS 🇹🇨 x 🇻🇮 US VIRGIN ISLANDS

28 March 2023
BONAIRE 🇧🇶 x 🇹🇨 TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS