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Saha among 64 former players for Tobago Legends.

Former skipper of the Soca Warriors and Trinidad and Tobago international Dwight Yorke is one of 64 former players who will take to the field when the Bristish Airways Tobago Football Legends Challenge kicks off from June 15-22 in the sister isle next year.

At the launch of the event at the Hyatt Regency, Yorke, Tobago House of Assembly’s Tobago global brand ambassador, and former French international and Manchester United footballer Louis Saha, were on hand to support the week-long event that will also feature a Dwight Yorke International Golf Tournament Day (June 19) at the event’s official base and accommodation, the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort in Lowlands.

The football part of the competition will have as its venue the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet and is set to feature former top players from clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United as well as select teams from the Professional Footballers Association and a Caribbean All Star team.

According to organisers, the Tobago Football Legends Challenge will be used to promote Tobago as a tourist and sport tourism destination. Yorke, a former Aston Villa and Manchester United player, said the Challenge was “a chance for all of us to share the beauty and theatre of sport in a fun and exciting atmosphere.”

“When I was growing up in Canaan, I never got to see the heros I would watch on TV. This event, the whole of Tobago and indeed Trinidad will be able to come, watch and mingle and support for the teams as well,” Yorke said.

THA Secretary of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport, Huey Cadette said he was very pleased to be involved especially because of the community interaction aspect of the Challenge.

“The fact that this event has been structured in such a way that the individuals (legends) will find themselves right across the community.

“In terms of the Best of the Rest game, in terms of the clinics, the Reach the Stars programme, it allows the persons in the community to be involved and feel a part of it,” he said.

The legends will participate in a major community outreach programmes throughout Tobago. Schools, clubs and academies will benefit as young players get an opportunity to interact with the legends.

Tracey Davidson-Celestine, THA Secretary of Tourism and Transportation, said the Challenge coincides with a period featuring increased visitors to the islands.

“The competition comes at a time when international arrivals are increasing and the signs that the growth will continue into the winter season and beyond, and already we are organising additional flights to deal with the increased visitor arrivals,’’ she said.

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Saha among 64 former players for Tobago Legends.
By Sean Nero (Guardian).


Former T&T and Manchester United stand-out Dwight Yorke is convinced that next year’s British Airways Tobago Football Legends Challenge at his namesake Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago will lift this country’s profile globally.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the event held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port-of-Spain Yorke described football as a global sport that attracts different types of people and a game with the potential to boost the twin-island’s image.

Yorke serves as global brand ambassador for the Department of Tourism and Transportation, which is a co-sponsor of the event.

With the Football Challenge now confirmed to take place in the sister isle, from June 15-22, it promises to see some of the world’s most revered athletes return to the pitch in a shortened format. Luis Saha, who was present at the launch, will be included in one of eight teams and 64 former players competing at the week-long event.

Yorke expressed delight in having the opportunity to welcome Saha, another former Manchester United forward, to local shores for the launch, along with George Berry and Colin Hill from the Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) in the United Kingdom.

Citing the tremendous excitement an event of this magnitude would generate the organisers have stressed the importance of hosting outreach projects in the community.

Officials at the Department of Tourism and Transportation have already estimated that between the spend of visitors to the island and media rights the tournament could earn as much as $37 million.

UK-based Sky Television will produce a 90-minute special, aimed at positioning Tobago as a trusted destination for well-known celebrities.

“I think people will be pleasantly surprised not just to see the stars, but to see the impact that it will bring into our country and hopefully everyone would benefit from it. Football took—since 2006—a turn for the worst in many respects in my opinion. It’s just nice to see T&T back on the map doing the things that we did best, which is compete on a regular basis in the Caribbean Cup,” Yorke said.

“And, of course, in the World Cup qualifications it’s looking much more like the T&T team. I keep one eye on that and continue voice success. Hopefully, that will be the case. But, there is still a lot of hard work still to be done. The progress looks slow, but it’s going in the right direction.

I am completing my A-badges. I am one level away from being a complete coach, which is the professional level, which is what you need to meet the requirement. So, yes, that is a slow process. It takes a couple of years before I complete it, but by the time it would be finished that’s when I would be committed to that side of my ideas on football.”

Asked if he would offer his services to the senior national team, Yorke said he would not dismiss such a possibility.

He declared that football had been very kind to him, not just giving him an opportunity to fulfil his dreams, but to meet many interesting people. Between his experiences abroad and having so many years in the game, Yorke now considers it absolutely paramount to give back to T&T football.

When that time comes around, he said, then, he would know it, but for now he was focusing on being a true brand ambassador for T&T, while continuing to try and implement his knowledge to continue his personal develop.

Yorke said, “Football is always going to be part of me. I have always been part of it and I look forward to that day when it comes for me to give back to give back to my country, from maybe a coaching point of view.”