Two of the country’s rising national footballers have opted out of renewing their contracts with a professional outfit in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League.
Twenty-year-old defender Vashami Allen and 22-year-old goalkeeper Prince Walter said they will not re-sign with Central Football Club after having not received salaries since being signed by the club earlier this year.
Allen, who was in Trinidad for five months, said that although he felt welcomed by the other players on the team, he could not have survived being away from home any longer without a monthly income.
“Well, they welcomed me like one of their own and as I came they referred to me as a new brother, so I got along with all of them well. The first sign [that there was a financial issue] was when the first month passed and I realised nothing was really happening. I decided to just grind it out and leave that alone but then it just got overbearing so I just came back to my home country,” he said.
Allen, who only appeared once for Central in his five-month stint, said he still views the move as his greatest opportunity to date.
“I was excited because I was waiting for this all of my life but in the structure, when I got there, I was excited to get on the field and what not and then behind the scenes there are all sorts of hiccups, so…” the player said.
Meanwhile Walter, who left Antigua in May, said he tried to hold on for as long as he possibly could, adding that deteriorating living conditions weighed heavily on his decision.
“I tried to speak to the owner and implied certain things to him and the living conditions weren’t really the best but I still tried to grind it out because, to me, it’s not all about the money but about getting to a next level,” he said.
“I had spoken to other experienced players about the situation and they told me to give it a chance and try to grind out a bit more. I tried that but after a while it was really overbearing with salaries not being paid and I couldn’t live like that. The owner, to me, doesn’t really respond to players quickly and understand our situation and that we are not Trinidadians,” the goalkeeper said.
Several other reports of players complaining about the non-payment of salaries in the TT Pro League and how it has impacted their ability to train and play have also surfaced in several Trinidad and Tobago publications.
The non-payment of salaries is being blamed on the suspension of a TT$50,000 subvention from the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago since May of this year.
The TT Pro League is on a break until September 8.