With the Digicel Trinidad and Tobago Pro League football competition due to begin next month, Point Fortin Civic FC currently do not have a squad of footballers training. And unless the community football team receive a subvention from the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT), they will not compete for a second season in the Pro League.
The brave adventure to bring “community football” to the Pro League, saw Point winning 13 league matches and drawing big crowds for much of last season. Point Fortin assembled a team containing Marcus Joseph, Andrei Toussaint, Andre Pacheco, Marvin Philllip, all of whom have worn Trinidad and Tobago national team colours. Even so, they failed to get the major corporations and the business community to buy into the idea of community development through professional football.
Former national footballer Steve David backed the effort with his money, with his Worldwide Safety company “carrying” the team, until financial help came. It never did. The burden has now become too heavy to carry.
“Last year most of the money came from Worldwide. But it was really a strain for us. To come up with that kind of money, which was $100,000 a month, was really too tough,” David said. “We made a decision that if we didn’t get the funding, we will not be coming back to the Pro League.”
David said that two weeks ago, there was a firm decision that “Civic” were out of the Pro League, but there is still a final hope they can still field a team should they could get Sport Company funding and assistance from area contractors.
“We went into the League (last season) with the promises we would get the community funds from the Sports Company. We did not get it and it put a strain on everybody,” David added, while hoping it comes this time. “We are not sure yet, but we hope it comes.”
He added: “We haven’t been training yet because we do not have the money to show that we coming back,” David admitted. “Those guys won’t want to play unless they know they going to get paid. Last year the whole thing was run on personal funds and now we run out of that.”
David said Civic had failed to sway energy companies Atlantic and Petrotrin to come aboard.
“The South area is where they get their oil and gas from. They should help us,” David insisted. “We went to the business sector and they also did not help. We are still trying. But instead of looking at big business like Atlantic and Petrotrin, we are hoping the contractors could give us some help.”
It is now too late for Civic to field a team in the second tier semi-professional league. Should they not play in the Pro League, David said Civic’s only option is to go back to the South Zone.
“Many of the players will not want to play in the South Zone now that they have had a taste of the Pro League,” David admitted. “But we will just have to go back to the South Zone and try to rebuild the community team if that’s the only option we have.”
David, however had no regrets about trying to bring professional football to the South where he began his playing career with Point Fortin Civic Centre.
“Football has gotten me everything I have,” David declared. “It got me an education so I could be strong enough to open a company. It got me representation, I can go anywhere and be recognised. I had to give something back.”