It seems as though the thought of being a local professional footballer and getting a fixed monthly salary has not sunk into some of the players in the Digicel Pro League as yet.
The latest lack of respect for the league, their club and management comes from four players from newly-crowned Pro League champion, bmobile Joe Public, which captured a historic five titles during the just concluded season.
Last week, Joe Public’s Hayden Tinto, Carlyle Mitchell, Gorean Highley and Kareem Young were all allegedly caught playing in a minor league competition in the Eddie Hart Football League and are set to be disciplined.
Only yesterday it was reported in the Guardian that 13 players from the club were offered new deals for the 2010 season.
However, of the quartet caught playing for Bon Air in the Eddie Hart League, midfielders Young and Highley are both out of contract on December 31 and were offered new deals while Mitchell and Tinto are tied to the club until the end of next season.
Contacted for comment, Derek King, coach of Joe Public, said that he was aware of the situation and the four players in question could expect to face a stiff fine from the club.
King added: “I just don’t understand why players who are under contract with clubs will want to put their futures at stake in some minor league competition.”
Joe Public is not the only club that is facing an in-house battle with its players as Clico San Juan Jabloteh and Caledonia AIA of Morvant/Laventille have also had to discipline players within recent times for their alleged participation in the same competition.
Only last month, Jabloteh technical director, Englishman Terry Fenwick marked his return to the club with full force, imposing a 50 per cent pay cut for December on midfielder Ataulla Guerra, citing breach of contract.
Guerra was spotted by the former England international playing in the Eddie Hart Football League for an unnamed club which Fenwick stated was total indiscipline on the player’s part.
Fenwick, who was reinstalled as technical director of the club for the third time last month following a title-less season under rookie coach, St Lucian Earl Jean further, stated: “It’s unacceptable that players are not respecting their contracts, their clubs and the national team effort.
“They ignore the professional way to run in the savannahs with no regards to such things as injuries.
Fenwick continued: “I am aware that other players are playing in the minor leagues as well. And if they are stupid enough to continue, then they stand to risk harsher penalties, because I will be checking.” He also applauded Caledonia AIA’s coach Jamaal Shabazz for taking action on Kerwin “Hardest” Jemmott and Keyon “Berbatov” Edwards during the Pro League “Big Six” competition for breach of contracts—playing in minor leagues.
Joe Public award coaching school staff, young players.
T&T Newsday Reports.
Mere hours after capturing their fifth title for the season, Joe Public Football Club held an end of year ceremony for their coaching school at which 377 youngsters were presented with certificates and awards at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.
The club’s general manager Daryll Warner as well as club administrator Sam Phillip and coaching school director Rudy Roberts were on hand to spend the Saturday morning with the participants ranging from age five to 18.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a voluntary address made by one of the coaching school members, Akiel Hernandez who suffers from cerebral palsy. Hernandez spoke of the trials of trying to play football with his condition but thanked everyone at the club for helping him become a stronger individual.
“For the past two and a half years I have been playing football with Joe Public. Since then I have been growing stronger physically and spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I just want you all to know that I never had any strength in my right leg. I could not even kick a ball with it.
“I reached closer to God by just praying a little more and asking him for guidance and now I have gained a lot of confidence in myself and a lot of my strength in my right leg. Since I am here, my doctor, Dr Toby is very proud of me due to my improvement... thanks to Joe Public,” Hernandez said
Afterwards he was hugely applauded by the other participants and parents in the audience.
Roberts, a long-standing servant in local football, said one of the key ingredients in the club’s overall success was the foundation being laid at the youth level. Several members of the club’s senior team were past members of the coaching school including head coach Derek King.
“There is a certain level of discipline we try to instill at the various levels starting at the youngest age group and every weekend we have close to 300 kids attending the training that the club offers and we have seen tremendous growth over the past ten years,” Roberts said.
General Manager Warner thanked the various members of the club’s coaching staff for the coaching school and youth teams for their contribution to the club.
“Without them Joe Public would not be what it is today. I am still overwhelmed by the high level of success Joe Public has achieved and it’s not just with the Pro Team but also at the youth level stemming from the coaching school,” Warner said.
“Not only is this the most successful season the club has enjoyed on the field but I also believe it is also one off the field. The true kindred and family spirit that has been orchestrated by the GM Mr Phillip, his staff, the kids, the adults and the pro players has been unsurpassed.”
Hernandez received a special awards while other awardees included Zachary James (Most Improved Under-7 player), Kyron Fortune (Most Improved Under-13 player), Brandon Khillawan (Most Improved Under- 11 player and Gregory Hackett (Most Improved Player at the Under-17 level).
Joe Public will reopen their coaching school for 2010 on January 17 and registration will begin on January 9 and 8.30am at the Marvin Lee Stadium.