Central seeks European gateway through Belgium’s CS Visé

Terry Fenwick hoists his Lucozade Sport Goal Shield coach of the tournament trophy after leading Central FC to the title in April.
Monday 2 June 2014

TT Pro League outfit Central FC and Belgium lower division outfit Cercle Sportif Visé have entered discussions towards a possible long-term partnership according to Central FC’s general manager Brent Sancho.

“We’ve passed the initial stages of discussions [with Visé co-investor, Englishman Steve Davis] and have made amicable decisions already,” Sancho said. “We are now exploring further discussions towards long term.”

Visé, demoted to the Belgian third division for the 2014/2015 season, have recently snapped up the services of Central FC’s head coach Terry Fenwick on a three-year deal, which, in the first instance, can also see a number of Central players move to Belgium in the upcoming weeks.

Sancho, who is confident that his club will become the gateway to Europe and the US Major League Soccer (MLS), conceded, “We already know that some players will seek higher pay cheques overseas and nobody can criticize them for wanting to earn more during their short careers. We also know that Central FC must sell players, not only to balance the books, but also to attract more top players.”

“It’s not a farewell,” said the 54-year-old Fenwick during his speech at Central FC’s 2013/2014 Awards and Dinner at the Super Industrial Services (SIS) Auditorium in Couva, last Wednesday.

Instead the former England international and Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur defender believes, “It’s an opportunity for us all.”

“We are hoping that a gateway to Europe can be opened by the two clubs: Central FC and my new club Visé in Belgium.

“There is a real nice family feel about Central FC and I certainly don’t have any intentions of breaking ties.”
Central FC players, inclusive of Trinidad and Tobago internationals Rundell Winchester and Ataullah Guerra
Fenwick guided Central to the 2013/2014 season First Citizens Cup and Lucozade Sport Goal Shield titles, and a second positioned finish in the Digicel Pro League to qualify for the 2015 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.
 
Fenwick, a three-time Pro League winning coach at former club San Juan Jabloteh, now has a new challenge in returning an underperforming CS Visé to the Belgian second division.

The outgoing Central coach also believes the opportunity/challenge can favour Trinidad and Tobago players.

“I want to (…) make sure the players that leave Trinidad and Tobago and come through to Europe, come through me. It’s a great opportunity for everyone because I’ve seen so many times before, you organise trials for guys and they don’t know where they are going, who they’re meeting, and with the culture change and so on it’s difficult.

“Now [I’d be] around. They all know Fenwick shouting and screaming but they know what I expect. I think that would be an easier way for them to make a name [for themselves]. I will be around, making sure that I’m in and out of the country … obviously new wife (Reyna Fenwick née Kowlessar) is from here, family from here, and my family at Central FC.”

Fenwick congratulated Central on a “mission accomplished” during the 2014/2015 Pro League season and admitted it was difficult, but “an absolute pleasure” and that he “loved every minute of it”.

He added, “[The Central] managing staff have been brilliant and the players have been great … tremendous throughout.”

Sancho meanwhile, had mixed emotions over the exit of Fenwick.

“Glad to have [had] you as part of our coaching staff,” said the ex-T&T international and 2006 World Cup defender during the Central FC Awards and Dinner.

“...And I would say on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago football, we are missing an important link in the TT Pro League and the development of our young players, and the years that you have given service to football in this country.

“As I have said in previous interviews, I would like to congratulate you (Fenwick) on an era of football, which contributed in the qualification of the World Cup (2006). I think the service that you have given this country in football is absolutely outstanding and it’s a travesty that you have never coached a national team.

“We at Central FC are privileged to have you here, you’re not just a coach but part of the family and we look forward to the partnership that we are going to have with the club in Belgium.”