Sons of Point Fortin loyal to Civic

Coach Reynold Carrington wants to steer potential into success

Marcus Joseph, second from right, and his Point Fortin Civic teammates celebrate a goal during last season
 Tuesday 2 September 2014

All except standout defender Andre Ettienne have committed their services to Point Fortin Civic for the new TT Pro League season.

Although hit by financial woes late last season and no solid guarantee of the required monetary aid just yet, as Point Fortin Civic FC’s management continue to seek financial assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago Government (through the Sport Company) and corporate sponsorships, the club’s loyal players will serve again for the 2014/15 season, even if it means weathering a storm.

“I personally believe that the club can go out there and get sponsorship,” Civic’s ace striker and last season’s top scorer, Marcus Joseph, said over his decision to re-sign with his hometown club.

The Trinidad and Tobago international added, “It’s not like we don’t have a good team. We have the ability to win the Pro League this season and the management said that they would do their best in getting sponsorship, so I’ve decided to give it another try.”

Point Fortin Civic entered the TT Pro League – the country’s top-tier league - last season, supported by funding from former T&T international and present Civic technical director Steve David, through his Worldwide Safety company, and other personal funds from the club’s directors, with the hope that eventually, corporate sponsorship and government’s financial aid will come.

Civic turned up the heat upon entering the league, parading a never say die attitude and attracting huge turnouts at matches, in true community style. But despite their creditable performances, crowds, and boasting a number of players that have donned the national colours, the desired financial aid didn’t come.

Civic’s chairman Garthorne Craig explained that although there were financial aid from companies such as EARTH (Environmental and Remedial Treatment for Hydrocarbons) Co. and KGC Limited, as well as temporary employment for some of the players within the Point Fortin Borough Corporation during last season, personal funds of such persons as David and other directors of the club were exhausted during the 2013/14 term.

David expressed his frustrations saying, “We don’t have a full sponsor yet and we still don’t have financial support from the government. We would like to get government’s subvention like (other clubs). If we don’t get, then we won’t be able to keep a team.

“It would be horrible for the people of Point Fortin not having a team in the Pro League. We even revived the Pro League a little bit and we are still not getting help. I can’t understand why we are not getting the support!

“The government has companies such as Atlantic and Petrotrin making all the money in this region and they won’t even help us. Imagine we still have a ground without stands. All this is frustrating and absurd!”

Trinity Industries is the only company so far on board, giving Civic a lifeline ahead of the new season, and according to Craig, the club is currently engaged in discussions with other corporations for assistance.

Craig echoed David’s sentiments, saying, “But the truth is we won’t be able to last, even for another season, if we are not supported by government’s subvention or full corporate sponsorship.”

But while the Civic’s management works feverishly on acquiring corporate sponsorship and government’s subvention, head coach Reynold Carrington was happy to reveal that the majority of last season’s squad, mainly residents of Point Fortin, have committed their services to the club for the new season.

The season kicks off on September 20 with the 2014 Digicel Charity Shield to be contested between bitter rivals W Connection and Central FC, and will be followed by the start of the 2014/15 Digicel Pro League season on September 23.

Carrington named Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, goalkeepers Akini Adams and Miguel Payne; defenders Garyl Doldron, Weslie John, Steven Joseph and Kevin Rouse; midfielders Akeem Redhead, Nickcolson Thomas, Andre Pacheco, Kelvin Modeste, Jamille Boatswain, Karym Balthazar, Glen Sutton and Ancil Wells; and forwards Matthew Bartholomew, Bevon Bass, Andre Alexis, Andre Toussaint and Marcus Joseph in Civic’s 2014/15 roster.

However 23-year-old defensive hard-man and captain Andre Ettienne, who has two years remaining on his contract, seems to be firm on his decision to quit the club.

Ettienne, who met with the Pro League’s Player Status Committee last month and is awaiting a final hearing this week, said his intention is to join Central FC, where he would serve under coach Zoran Vranes, who coached him at T&T Under 20 level.

Ettienne said that Civic is guilty of breaching his contract by not fulfilling salaries, some of which he is still owed.

“Lack of sponsorship is plaguing us,” said Carrington. “And our players are of the quality that they could have gone to any club. So it’s amazing to see the loyalty of the majority of players; wanting to represent their club and community under the current circumstances.

“Our players are remaining optimistic and we hope that things can become financially better. At present it’s amazing to see the enthusiasm of the players ahead of the new season.”

Carrington highlighted that full promotion has been given to 18-year-old midfielder Kestwin Goolie into the senior team from the club’s Under 18/Reserves, while 21-year-old left-back Tevin Balfor and 20-year-old striker Trent Lougheed are newcomers.

Carrington, who led Civic to a debuting fourth position in the league last season, said that Goolie, who made his senior debut last season, will be heavily involved with the senior team this season as he hopes to steer the community-based club to a higher finish and maybe, a title.

“We showed the potential on the playing field last season, but in the new (2014/15) season I would like us to do much better. Last season we lost in a lot of key areas due to concentration. We had that season to learn and now we must improve. Anything matching, or below what we did last season, will be considered failure.

“Also, in the line of professionalism and organization (administratively) as a professional club, I think we need to match clubs such as W Connection and Central to be able to go to the next level.

“I also believe that I should improve as coach and try to do a lot of things better, so together as staff and players we can definitely improve on last season.”