MARCUS JOSEPH, last season’s Digicel Pro League top-scorer, has committed to Point Fortin Civic FC for another season, despite the uncertain financial position of the community football team.
Most of Civic’s footballers are remaining with the club, but captain Andre Ettienne is seeking to join Cental FC, and has made a complaint to the professional league about unpaid wages.
Civic were contenders for most of the 2013-2014 season in the Pro League before finishing a respectable fourth, having won 13 matches in their first season, one more than second-placed Central FC. However, Civic suffered financial difficulties late last season, and as yet, have no financial guarantees for the upcoming season.
The team management continues to seek financial assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago Government (through the Sport Company) and corporate sponsorships, to keep its operations going.
Among the players who head coach Reynold Carrington named as having stayed are Joseph, Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, fellow goalkeepers Akini Adams and Miguel Payne, defenders Garyl Doldron, Weslie John, Steven Joseph and Kevin Rouse, midfielders Akeem Redhead, Nickcolson Thomas, Andrei Pacheco, Kelvin Modeste, Jamille Boatswain, Karym Balthazar, Glen Sutton and Ancil Wells and forwards Matthew Bartholomew, Bevon Bass, Andre Alexis and Andre Toussaint.
“I believe the club can go out there and get sponsorship,” Civic’s ace striker and last season’s top scorer, Joseph told TTProleague.com over his decision to re-sign with his hometown club.
“It’s not like we don’t have a good team,” the Trinidad and Tobago international added. “We have the ability to win the Pro League this season and the management said that they would do their best in getting sponsorship, so I’ve decided to give it another try.”
However, last season’s captain, 23-year-old Ettienne, seems to be firm in his decision to quit the club. Ettienne has two years remaining on his contract by wants to join Central FC. He has accused Civic of breaching his contract by not fulfilling his salary, some of which he is still owed.
He met with the Pro League’s Player Status Committee last month and is awaiting a final hearing this week.
“Lack of sponsorship is plaguing us,” said Carrington. “And our players are of the quality that they could have gone to any club. So it’s amazing to see the loyalty of the majority of players, wanting to represent their club and community under the current circumstances.
“Our players are remaining optimistic and we hope that things can become financially better. At present it’s amazing to see the enthusiasm of the players ahead of the new season.”
Trinity Industries is the only company so far on board, giving Civic a lifeline ahead of the new season, and according to the club’s chairman Garthorne Craig, the club is currently engaged in discussions with other corporations for assistance.
“But the truth is we won’t be able to last, even for another season, if we are not supported by Government’s subvention or full corporate sponsorship,” Craig said.
He explained that last season there was financial aid from companies such as EARTH (Environmental and Remedial Treatment for Hydrocarbons) Co and KGC Ltd, as well as temporary employment for some of the players within the Point Fortin Borough Corporation. Still, it took the personal funds of former T&T international Steve David and other directors to keep the club going. Such funds were exhausted during the 2013-14 term.
“We don’t have a full sponsor yet and we still don’t have financial support from the Government, explained a frustrated David. “We would like to get Government’s subvention like (other clubs). If we don’t get, then we won’t be able to keep a team.
“It would be horrible for the people of Point Fortin not having a team in the Pro League. We even revived the Pro League a little bit and we are still not getting help. I can’t understand why we are not getting the support,” David added.
“The government has companies such as Atlantic and Petrotrin making all the money in this region and they won’t even help us. Imagine we still have a ground without stands. All this is frustrating and absurd!”