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Former national football team coach Bertille St Clair and members of the Bertille St. Clair Sporting Academy aided the Covid-19 relief effort with a distribution of food hampers in Tobago last week.

A recent inductee into the First Citizens Foundation Hall of Fame, 77-year-old St Clair donated food hampers to those in need in the Bethel, Canaan, Carnbee, Ottley Street, Signal Hill, Patience Hill and Bon Accord communities.

St Clair took Trinidad and Tobago to their only Concacaf Gold Cup football semi-final in 2000 and also got the Caribbean nation to the “Hex”, the final stage of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, before being replaced in the latter stages by renowned Dutch coach Leo Benhakker.

St Clair boasts a long history of achievement. He has coached national football teams at every level — Under-13, Under-16, Under-19, Under-23 and the seniors twice. And he is still the only coach to have taken T&T to the semi-final stage of the Concacaf Gold Cup and also has five schoolboy football InterCol finals wins, during his time with Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive.

Having coached football, cricket and hockey, former school-teacher St Clair set up his own sporting Academy in 2019, having ended his long association with the St. Clair Coaching School. It is through his new academy that St Clair extended a helping hand. St Clair himself is just recovering from a heart ailment, having been hospitalised in Trinidad in March.

“We at the Bertille St Clair Sporting Academy thought it best to help the parents, and some of the elderly people who are not doing so well,” he told the Express.

“We got some funds put together and a lot of grocery items, a lot,” St Clair added, “We distributed at Fourth Street in Scarborough, to Signal Hill, Patience Hill, Bethel and into Canaan. Bon Accord. We went quite a few places.”

St Clair credits the initiative to Diane Thomas, manager of the one-year-old Bertille St Clair Sporting Academy. “She is the manager. She came up with the idea and they came by me and we got it going,” he said. Thomas said it was a spur of the moment thing after seeing the need in Tobago. Members immediately dived into action. “Some of the members donated financially while others donated food stuff, with which we made up the hampers,” Thomas said.

Of those helped, some were living under dire conditions, even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and graciously accepted whatever help came their way. “One of the persons we helped had seven children and her mother had no feet,” Thomas said.

“There are still a lot of people in need,” Thomas added. “We will still try to help them.”


SOURCE: T&T Express