Central F.C. announced the signing of Willis Plaza and Leston Paul this week, bringing their total of new additions to four in the winter transfer window.
“It’s great to get two quality players such as Willis and Leston on board” said Central F.C. Managing Director, Brent Sancho. “Both players fit right into our policy of recruiting T&T players and increase the level of quality in our squad”
Incredibly, Central’s four latest signings: Plaza, Paul, Yohance Marshall and Ataullah Guerra have all represented Trinidad & Tobago (Paul at U-17 & U-20 World Cups) and were all recruited from outside of the Pro League.
“There are plenty of decent T&T players out there, but you have to make the effort to recruit them” said Sancho.
23 year old Leston Paul, who studied in the USA and gained a degree in geography, had a successful season with Super League outfit, Guaya United. The Mayaro midfielder will be looking to move up to the senior national team and feels that exposure in the Pro League will help his cause.
26 year old striker Willis Plaza will also be looking to catch the eye of National team coach, Stephen Hart. The Arima target man has already won 10 international appearances and is sure to add to that total if he regularly hits the net with Central F.C.
‘In total, we now have 11 T&T internationals in our squad with total caps of 138. Although players such as Marvin Oliver and Hector Sam may not realistically add to their total, youngsters such as Darren Mitchell, Rundell Winchester and Leston Paul will surely cross the mind of Stephen Hart if their performances are consistent.” said Sancho.
“And guys like Jamal Jack, Yohance Marshall, Elton John and Jason Marcano have the potential to join Ataullah Guerra and Jan-Michael Williams as regulars on Harts teamsheet.”
Plaza, who joined Central from Vietnamese club Song Lam Nghe, has been unable to complete his move until the winter transfer window opened on the 26th December. “It’s been frustrating for everyone” said Sancho “But now Willis is officially a Shark and we’re looking forward to seeing him do what he does so well – score goals!”
Although Central’s squad is completely made up of T&T nationals, Sancho has not ruled out an addition of one or two overseas players. “We will always look to sign local players first, but we will also continue to search overseas for one or two top quality foreign players who can bring something fresh to the Pro League.”
Sancho said his club has not had a fresh injection of capital to fund his new recruits. “We’ve let 5 players go, which has released funds to acquire our new players. And, of course, we have young players, such as Dwight Quintero and Nicholas Dillon, who we have brought through to add to the mix. It’s a constant juggling act for us to stretch the dollars.” Sancho considers one of his clubs greatest accomplishments so far as being able to function without Government support.
“Aside from Army and Police, every other Pro League club receives up to TT$80,000 per month from Ministry of Sport. Before we can even draw level with other clubs, we have to find that much each month. We work incredibly hard to attract sponsors by delivering a host of community events. We are, in fact, the poorest club in the Pro League, but our creativity and work ethic help us win through.”
But Sancho believes that the Ministry of Sports’ support for the Pro League is essential. ‘We may not receive any financial support directly, but the Ministry is enabling professional football to survive and improve. Hundreds of people are employed due to the Government support and we must be grateful for that.”
Central F.C.’s scheduled match with Defence Force on Friday has been postponed and the California based team have a bye on Tuesday. “Having the Army game postponed has meant that the whole squad, plus our staff, can attend the funeral of Akeem Adams in Point Fortin.
It is very important to the club to have everyone attend to pay their respects to our former colleague. We then have 7 days to prepare for another visit to Point Fortin, this time to play against Civic Centre in the Pro League.”
Central F.C. vs Point Fortin kicks off at 3.30pm on Saturday 25th January at Mahaica Oval.