No team from the bmobile National Super League has yet won the Toyota Classic football competition. That could change in 2012.
Joe Public set the standard for the semi-pro Super League teams by being the first to reach the semifinal stage. Last year, the Eastern Lions had a superb run under coach Rajesh Latchoo, knocking out two professional teams, including the Joe Public Pro League team.
Yesterday, the seventh edition of the Toyota Classic was launched at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, in Port of Spain. It was announced that 16 teams--eight from the Super League and eight from the fully professional Digicel Pro League–will bid for Toyota honours.
The tournament kicks off on Friday, and the champions will be crowned on December 7. The winners will receive $50,000, while the runners-up will earn $20,000.
Yesterday's draw saw defending champions W Connection coupled with the Defence Force second string (Super League) team.
"They have to come good," declared W Connection defender Joel Russell. "They got to work hard."
"Toyota has committed itself to sport and football in Trinidad and Tobago," Toyota Trinidad and Tobago Limited marketing officer Sean Shaffie said at yesterday's launch. Shaffie also indicated Toyota's willingness to partner with the Pro League to assist clubs in marketing themselves.
"Get the parents involved. Let's foster football moms and football dads like they have done so well all over the world," Shaffie said. "When the moms get involved, trust me, the dads will get involved."
In his feature address, Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene urged footballers to give fans full value, live the best they can and play the best they can. He told players it was their duty to be disciplined and devoted to improving their skills, fitness and technique.
"Professional football is not only about getting paid to play football. It is not about if you are getting paid enough. It first begins with your attitude and mind-set," said Skeene.
"The future of football and professional football on the field is in your hands. You the players are who the fans want to see. But the fans want to be able to see you at your very best every single time you step out of your house or on to the field."
2012 TOYOTA CLASSIC GROUPS
HILUX GROUP A: NE Stars, Joe Public (Super League), T&TEC, Siparia Spurs (Super League)
COROLLA GROUP B: Caledonia AIA, Stokely Vale (Super League), Police, Santa Rosa (Super League)
YARIS GROUP C: W Connection, WASA (Super League), St Ann's Rangers, Defence Force (Super League)
CAMRY GROUP D: Defence Force, West Side Stars (Super League), Central FC, Phoenix FC (Super League)