Still no FA Trophy $$; Finalists Central, Caledonia focuses on silverware

Still no FA Trophy $$; Finalists Central, Caledonia focuses on silverwareFA Trophy newcomers Central FC and defending champions Caledonia AIA will contest eachother on Friday from 8pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in the 2012-13 final with all eyes on the trophy.

“Money, or no money” both Central and two-time winners Caledonia promised a top drawer FA final.

Although touted as “the most prestigious tournament in any part of the world” by chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation tournaments committee, Neville Ferguson, the FA Trophy stands without prize money this season.

And in retrospect, former winners such as North East Stars, W Connection and Caledonia are believed to have never received prize money in the past decade.

At a pre-match press briefing hosted by the TTFF, at its Woodbrook office in Port of Spain, TTFF president Raymond Tim Kee reiterated that the federation simply has no money, and that no prize money would be up for grabs—something he revealed midway through the tournament.

Tim Kee divulged two emotions saying, “One, the fact that we have this grand game on Friday; and two, the fact that there is no money.

“This situation is just discomforting in that it’s a fact that we just don’t have money.”

He proposed that there should be no recurrence of this situation (with the FA Trophy) as he pledged to use his financial background to seek sponsorship in the future.

The TTFF president also expressed hope that the Government understands that when it gives commercial licences to major companies to come into T&T, that local sporting bodies may be able to receive some percentage of revenue.

Tim Kee also sent out a plea to corporate T&T to try and understand the role of sport in shaping and building the nation’s youth.

He warned, “I will be coming knocking on the doors of companies to assist in the financing of football and it is my hope than when next we meet to discuss the staging of a tournament like this we will have something to celebrate.”

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And while monetary prizes remain a crucial aspect of the existence of clubs, both Central and Caledonia are eager to lift the title.

Central led by former FA winning coach Terry Fenwick, guided the ‘Sharks’ to wins over Shiva Boys College (2-0 in the QF round) and T&TEC FC (1-0 in the SF round), while Caledonia had much more difficult opponents in Stokely Vale (1-0 in the QF round) and North East Stars (2-1 in the SF round).

The last meeting between Central and Caledonia the ‘Sharks’ grabbed a 3-2 win, with Tobagonian forward Rundell Winchester netting the winner following goals by Antiguan forward Peter Byers and former San Juan Jabloteh and Caledonia midfielder Marvin Oliver, while its FA Trophy opponents got a goal each from Tobagonian Trevin Caesar and Kareem Joseph.

“It’s an important opportunity for us,” said Caledonia coach Jerry Moe. “Our intention since inception has always been to be one of the best teams in the country.”

The FA Trophy is one of four titles, the others being the First Citizens Cup, Lucozade Sport Goal Shield, Caribbean Cup captured by Caledonia last season. Caledonia, FA finalist in 2007, won the title in 2008 and last season defeated Defence Force in the Final.

This time around “our preparation for the match against Central has been very good and we are very confident,” said Moe. “We know Central has a good team as well and will be coming at us very physical, having gone under to them 2-3 recently. We also know their coach Terry Fenwick will also have his eyes set on another FA triumph.”

Caledonia welcomes back midfielder Densill Theobald into the squad for Friday’s Final along with central defender Nuru Abdullah Muhammad both coming off trials in Europe.

Meanwhile Central stands without Omar Charles, Winchester, Rennie Britto, Hector Sam and Johan Peltier having already represented other teams in the current FA Trophy before joining the ‘Sharks’.

“We are still in the embryonic stages,” said Central FC Managing Director Brent Sancho. “...and as part of the club’s management team it’s a great for us to be in a final. Like Caledonia we are proud to be in the title match, money or no money.

“Our aim at the start of the season was to finish in the top five of the league and reach at least one of the cup finals.”

Sancho said the team’s preparation under recently hired coach Terry Fenwick has gone very well and while his team did well in a recent win over Caledonia, he expects more hunger from his players in the FA final as cup competitions bring out a different animal in players.

Prior to the FA final, T&T U17s will face W Connection Reserves as they continue their preparations for Concacaf Final Round of Qualification in Panama City in April towards the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in September.