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Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Anil Roberts believes that local footballers must put themselves first while playing in foreign leagues in order to prolong their careers at the top level.

Roberts was addressing a group of students at the launch of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club’s Schools Football Festival at the Club’s Ballroom in St Clair yesterday when he made the comments.

Recalling a conversation between himself and Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones, the former talk show host contended that Dwight Yorke’s time at Manchester United had been cut short as a result of him putting his teammates ahead of himself. “I told Kenwyne, ‘You are in a dog eat dog world.

You cannot take your Trinbagonian values into professional football. Dwight Yorke did it. He was too generous with the ball, he shared it with everyone. They were greedy and selfish and outscored him and eventually that forced his move from Manchester United,”  he said.

“Kenwyne looked at me and said: ‘Coach, I agree with you,’ and what he has done this season is incredibly remarkable. Yes, he shared it, but when his chances came he took them so at the end of the day when you look at the statistics, he will not be the one to be dropped.”

On behalf of the Ministry, Roberts presented QPCC with $50,000 for the staging of the Festival, which will be played at the Oval on July 2.

Also making a contribution was Jones, who equalled the donation made by the Ministry.“It’s always good to be able to give back because in my case, I can say that 75% of my development came from playing school football,” Jones said “I always look back at those memories and take pride in them.”

The 8-a-side festival will showcase a combination of 52 primary and secondary school teams in two divisions: Under 13 and Under 16. Six playing fields will be used simultaneously.

Other sponsors include former Soca Warrior Chris Birchall, Blue Waters, Guardian Life, Sports and Games, Toyota, Flavourite and Wendy’s.