Saturday, December 16, 2017

More than nostalgia

InterCol ex-players seek to expand contribution


Rolling back the years: Former Mayor of Port of Spain and Belmont Secondary footballer Louis Lee Sing, left, is shadowed by Tranquillity Secondary’s Jerome Lewis, second from right, and David Kwame during their Intercol Nostalgia Football Festival match at the St Mary’s College Grounds, Serpentine Road on Saturday. —Photo: Ishmael Salandy

Mark Fraser

St Mary’s College won two of the divisions when the Nostalgia Football Festival took place at St Mary’s Ground over the weekend.

CIC won the Over 50 InterCol final, edging Belmont Secondary 1-0 to lift the title at the end of the all-day tournament at Serpentine Ground.

The tournament featured eight teams in three categories Under-35, 35-50 and 50 and over.

The CIC over-50s defeated St Benedict’s 2-1 in the quarter-finals before they beat arch rivals Fatima College 1-0 in the semi-finals.

Belmont Secondary edged Tranquillity Secondary 1-0 at the top eight stage before narrowly beating Naparima College 1-0 in the semi-final to advance to a final meeting with the Saints.

The 50 and over division was the only one played in a knockout format.

In the round robin competition in the 50 and over category, Naparima College emerged as the top team followed by St Benedict’s College and CIC.

St Mary’s also won the Under-35 competition, with Tranquillity Secondary the runners-up and Belmont third, while Tranquillity emerged victorious in the 35-50 division ahead of second placed Naparima, while there was a three-way tie for third involving CIC, Fatima and St Benedict’s.

Former QRC InterCol player Vernon Sadaphal was just pleased to be able to meet up with opponents and teammates from his era.

“What I like about it, (the tournament)  is....I have seen some people here I haven’t seen since 1965, so that in itself is a success....Roger Dupres and Clive Sealy,” Sadaphal said.

Sadaphal’s contemporary and QRC teammate Selby Browne said the Nostalgia Football Festival “ is very important for camaraderie.

“There are  guys getting together who were friends from age 11 from first form...It includes meeting the guys you played against from South,  St Benedicts’  Naparima and Presentation College.... those are things we remember and  have fun with and we relax.”

Browne, now vice-president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFOTT) said the event was also a display of the kind of values players from this time possessed; fierce, competitive play on the field but lasting friendships off of it.

   Browne said he would like to see an improvement in the quality of the current Secondary Schools Football League, and added that the school teams need to be involved in more senior competitions.

“There is a fundamental error that has been made in terms of Trinidad and Tobago football that has retarded the development. Nowadays we have  little boys playing  little boys and you get little boy football. In my days, when I played, I was already  playing for Trinidad two years before that...Players played  with the big clubs and were playing big man football,  so when we met at college it was colleges league playing big man football. QRC and CIC played with the senior clubs like the Shamrock,  the Colts,  the Malverns....we need more of that now.”

One of the tournament organisers, Ken Butcher, a former CIC student and sportsman, said the whole vision was for former students  to identify with  their alma maters and get back to the values and standards   that were  inculcated in that time.

Butcher said they already have a major sponsor ANSA McAl on board and the committee would be looking to expand the idea into a Super League of Alma Maters during the June, July and August months.

They also intend to host an InterCol North/South competition  and establish a fund to help defray costs  of aging players like in the case of former national captain Sedley Joseph who is on kidney dialysis.

“It is disheartening when you  know people like Sedley Joseph ,  who lived a good and proper life,  and because of a kidney  disorder 4-5 times a week has to go on dialysis . You don’t cater for that and we would like to fill that hole and be able to contribute.”

Dexter Skeene, CEO of the Digicel Pro League and another CIC old boy,  said the tournament is about friends, building relationships, contacts and networking.

“That is what is important, everybody come together for the better of T&T,” Skeene said, “ The main thing is the alumni association can contribute and link with the schools and  give back because they have passed through what they (the current students) are now experiencing and  it is important that we go and act like big brothers and continue to coach and mentor, be like fathers and extended brothers to the present school population.”