Tens of Thousands Of Ecstatic Trinidadians Welcome Home Their National Team on a Brand New Holiday

PORT-OF-SPAIN Trinidad (AP) - Tens of thousands of soccer fans celebrating Trinidad's first-ever World Cup berth danced to steel drums and soca music Thursday as they welcomed home their victorious national team.

It was the second day of festivities where Thursday was declared a national holiday to honor the Soca Warriors' 1-0 win over Bahrain on Wednesday a victory that sends them to the World Cup.

"I have been standing out here for four hours just to see the Warriors they did us proud Gerod Torres an off-duty police officer said as he waited to see the team's passing motorcade.

Thousands of Trinidadians waving the country's black red and white flag followed the team's motorcade from the airport to the capital. A concert was planned in their honor.

Tears of joy ran down the face of Dennis Lawrence who scored Wednesday's winning goal.

"We desperately needed a goal. I was delighted to have gotten the ball at that crucial moment to give Trinidad and Tobago the win we needed Lawrence told The Associated Press.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning also praised the team.

"Team Trinidad has done for Trinidad and Tobago what many politicians have failed to do. Bringing together people of every race class and persuasion Manning said.

Trinidad will be the smallest country at next year's World Cup in Germany. The Caribbean country has a population of about 1.3 million.

The only other Caribbean teams to make the tournament were Cuba in 1938 Haiti in 1974 and Jamaica in 1998.