Matchworn during the 1991 Caribbean Cup by Martin Alexander
Source: St. Lucian player
Football shirts are a door to history. Certain designs are forever connected to historic games or events, with iconic shirts like Germany’s 1990 home shirt always being reminiscent of a certain point in football history.
This is even more true for matchworn jerseys, which are literally contemporary witnesses of a specific match or point in time.
Unlike their colorful flag and beautiful nature, St. Lucia’s footballing history isn’t quite as vivid.
Founded in 1979, the same year St. Lucia gained independence, the Saint Lucia Football Association joined FIFA in 1988 and attempted to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time during the 1994 qualification campaign. Albeit, the team was never even close to qualifying for any major tournament. Their biggest success, however, St. Lucia achieved when they entered their first international tournament: the Caribbean Cup (also known as “Shell Caribbean Cup”) in 1991.
Despite being a young footballing nation, St. Lucia managed to qualify for said cup by defeating Montserrat and Anguilla in the qualifying tournament. Drawn in group B alongside Trinidad & Tobago, Martinique and the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia achieved a goalless tie with the latter nations, while beating the favored Trinidadians (and Tobagonians) 2-1, thus advancing to the semi-finals where they lost 2-0 against later champion Jamaica.
Worn in the aforementioned Caribbean Cup by Martin Alexander, the shirt is as basic as it gets: A plain yellow shirt by Umbro based on the popular “bruised banana” pattern made famous by Arsenal London, but in a “riper” color with a black #3 on the back and no federation badge.
What makes this shirt special, however, is its connection to St. Lucia’s footballing history: After losing in the semi-final against Jamaica, the team encountered Guyana in the third-place match, where they scored four goals and eventually beat the Guyanese squad 4-1, and by doing so, securing the third place in the tournament – to this day, St. Lucia’s greatest achievement in football. What makes it even more special, is the fact that defender Martin Alexander managed to score a goal wearing this very shirt.
Alongside my San Marino shirt worn in their first ever win, this is the second shirt that represents a country’s biggest footballing achievement in my collection. And I’m proud to honor it and be able to share it with other collectors.