“I think it’s going to be a very challenging season not only because of the trophy, but because of the prize (money involved),” said veteran winger Kevon Carter of the defending Digicel Pro League champions Defence Force.
The two-time (2010-11 & 2012-13) Pro League champs will begin its title defense on Friday against the Terry Fenwick coached-Central FC from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, followed by an 8pm contest between newcomers Point Fortin Civic Football Club and Police FC from 8pm.
On Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Round One Match Day One continues when St. Ann’s Rangers, coached by newcomer Gilbert Bateau, hosts DIRECTV W Connection from 5pm, followed by a 7pm clash between Caledonia AIA of Morvant/Laventille and North East Stars from, while returning
San Juan Jabloteh receives a bye on the weekend.
The illustrious league title is at stake, but clubs seemed more interested in the increased winners’ prize money of $1,000,000—a gigantic leap from the previous $350,000 in seasons gone by.
It was on Wednesday that TT Pro League CEO, Dexter Skeene, revealed during the launch of the 2013-2014 Digicel Pro League, that the winning club would receive $1,000,000 as part of the league’s $2,000,000 structured prize money payout.
“It’s exciting times for us and the fact that we are playing for a million dollars,” Caledonia AIA Technical Director/Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz said. “It’s also tremendous interest and I look forward for it.”
Even the incoming Point Fortin expressed its interest in the million-dollar prize.
Technical Director of Point Fortin and former Trinidad and Tobago legend Steve David, in his address on Wednesday, said, “We really appreciate everybody giving us their support… the effort to be in this Pro League. It’s a chance for us because of what we are going through right now and trying to make the best of it. Hopefully we will win that million dollars and next year will be much better.”
David said that initially his organization is trying to make Point Fortin a community club, belonging to Point Fortin, and hopes that the people of Point Fortin buy into it.
“We have a lot of history …we have a lot of great players …we have a lot of background and if we build it the right way, we think it can be successful and that’s why we are here. We want to be here but we just don’t want to be a team. We want to be part of the growth process and part of the group that would make this Pro league successful.”
Point Fortin coached by former Trinidad and Tobago and W Connection midfielder, Reynold Carrington, boasts the likes of T&T internationals goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and Marcus Joseph and former W Connection players Andrei Pacheco, Nickcolson Thomas, Matthew Bartholomew and Kelvin Modeste, who captains the team.
Ex-T&T internationals Lyndon Diaz, Andre Toussaint and goalkeeper Akini Adams are also in the Point Fortin squad along with former T&TEC FC players Wesley John, Andre Ettiene, Bevon Bass, Keron Neptune, Brenton De Leon, Glen Sutton, Akeem Redhead, Sylvester Teesdale, Kelvin Hernandez, Akeem Parris, Andre Matthew, Kevin Rouse and Akiniyel Rouse.
Other players include Garyl Doldron, Steven Joseph, Dwight Cave, Ancil Wells, Andre Alexis, Kestor Cornwall, Miguel Payne and Jarred Bennet.
“You can expect a competitive game,” David said in response to Shabazz’s question of what to expect from Point Fortin on the field of play. “You can expect good players …you can expect everything you should get out of football. And we have the best coach in the league in Reynold Carrington. We have the best player and captain in league in Kelvin “Super” Modeste, and we have the best manager in the league, Ken Mc Cree. And I’m the best supporter.”
But while welcoming Point Fortin into the league, Shabazz was quick to make a promise to the southerners.
The Caledonia coach said, “It’s an honour to have the likes of Steve David and the whole history that Point Fortin brings to the football. But we will be honoured to beat the shirts off their backs.”