They have accomplished step one by winning the 2013 National Super League, the second tier semi-professional league in Trinidad and Tobago.
Established in 2010 as the Guayaguayare United Active Youth Association (GUAYA), the “Green Army”, Guaya United won the Super League by a point over long-time leaders Club Sando, after winning 2-1 away to Siparia Spurs on Sunday.
The next target for Guaya is to become a fully professional club, and to play in the 2014- 2015 Digicel Pro League.
“As with any other champions, it is a wonderful feeling (to win),” head coach Ron La Forrest said, as Guaya celebrated their Super League championship. “Spirits are high and everyone associated with the team is happy. For now we give the players a break to enjoy their credible moment. Then, after Carnival, we get back together and see how we can put things together to go into the Pro League.”
The Guaya coach built his team around five experienced players, including former T&T Youth World Cup playmaker Leston Paul, who left for Central FC in January. It did not stop the team’s forward momentum since La Forest had two players filling every position, and a capable replacement for Paul.
“When I was a player, I always wanted to win. That is what I bring to Guaya,” La Forest said. “So, regardless of injury or if we lost players, the mindset is always to win.”
Having won on the field of play, the tougher battle now is to gain the financial support which would allow Guaya the opportunity to play professional football next season.
“Right now, we have some talks with some companies to try and get us into the Pro League,” La Forest said. “Richard Hadlee is the main man behind the team. Right now, he is the chief cook and bottle washer. But he is talking with some companies for us to get to the Pro League. You can’t go to the Pro League with your hands empty.”
Once coach of defunct Pro League club Ma Pau, La Forest made an important point. It will take at least $350,000 just to register Guaya as a Pro League club, and they also have to show a business development plan which guarantees that they can pay their players.
La Forest thinks Guaya have the ideal model required for professional football, and guaranteed community support. Just last year, Guaya hammered another community team, Civic Centre 4-0 in the Champion of Champions play-off to get into the Super League. They are now encouraged by the success of “Civic”, who are currently second in their first season of the Pro League.
La Forest said Guaya makes a good case to get into the Pro League, provided they have the financial backing.
“The team is based in the Eastern Counties region. We have players from Guaya, Rio Claro, Mayaro and Sangre Grande. We have one of the strongest supporter bases in the country,” La Forest declared. “Given the type of supporters we have, I think we will do well. Point Fortin have a good supporter base, and that has supported them well.”
Guaya United players
during 2013 season:
1. Kevon Saunders (GK); 77. Leroy Jones, 12. Akieno Morgan , 2. Marcus Ramkhelawan, 14. Sherlon Campbell, 19. Beville Joseph, 5. John Stewart; 27. Kheelon Mitchell, 99. Russell Alfred, 8. Kerdell Alfred, 9. Earlon Thomas, 18. Leston Paul (captain), 7. Jody Allsop; 10. Carlon Hughes, 80. Marius Des-Cartes (GK), 6. Zavion Navarro, 26. Kendes Garcia, 70. Kheelon Ferrier
Coach: Ron La Forest.