MAKING A COMEBACK
Jabloteh set to rejoin Pro League
Ian Prescott email@example.com
All indications are that four-time champions San Juan Jabloteh are back in the Digicel Pro League for the 2013-2014 season, despite Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene confirming yesterday that they had only “applied” to rejoin the football competition.
Jabloteh, Point Fortin Civic Centre and St Clair Coaching School all have indicated a desire to join the Pro League, whose season begins tomorrow with the Digicel Charity Shield between league champions Defence Force and Pro Bowl champions W Connection.
T&TEC, the 2011-2012 runners-up will not participate in the Pro League this season.
Jabloteh missed the 2012-2013 season due to financial difficulties, similar to North East Stars who missed 2009 due to similar financial pressures before returning a year later. As founding members of the Pro League, it almost certainly Jabloteh who will be welcomed back once they provide proof of financial stability. Yesterday, both chairman Jerry Hospedales and chief executive officer Azaad Khan indicated that the San Juan club had attracted significant sponsorship which will keep them on a good financial footing.
“We are able to assemble a package of finance which will allow us to, sometime in the next year, field a competitive team,” Jabloteh chairman Jerry Hospedales said. “We made the decision (to return to the Pro League) last Friday. We feel the process (of building a strong team) will take two years. In the short term, we need to build a team to (play) football in three weeks’ time, which is difficult, but we feel that by January, we should be able to further pick up some players and become stronger.”
Khan issued a release yesterday, indicating Jabloteh’s return to the professional League and said they will begin screening players from today. Jabloteh named Keith Jeffrey as interim coach and are also seeking to fill positions on their technical staff.
“The resumption has been due to the tremendous goodwill of a number of public companies in Trinidad and Tobago. The club is in the process of finalising those commitments,” Khan said. “The TT Pro League has agreed to provide San Juan Jabloteh with a grace period for ramping up its operations.”
The release added: “The club has agreed that Mr Keith Jeffrey would be the interim coach and would be responsible for preparing the team for competition. He has advised that training for all potential players will begin on Thursday 5th September, 2013 at 7 a.m. The venue: Barataria Oval. Screening will continue everyday (except Sundays) until Friday 20th September, 2013.”
Khan’s release further said. “It would be appreciated if all past and out-of-contract players and others so willing, contact Mr Keith Jeffrey (620-0235) or Mr Azaad M Khan (678-8637) with a view of making themselves available for screening with the intention of an offer of contract. The following technical staff positions are also vacant: manager, equipment / transport manager, physiotherapist, trainer and assistant coach.”
Meanwhile, Skeene named Jabloteh, Point Fortin Civic Centre and St Clair Coaching School among the applicants and disclosed that their positions will be finalised at a meeting next Tuesday. Skeene also disclosed that 2010-2011 runners-up T&TEC are out of the competition.
“Jabloteh have applied. We have several teams that are interested and we will convene a meeting on Tuesday to discuss that,” Skeene said.”T&TEC have confirmed that they are unable to take part in the competition this year.”