TEAM HOPE, coached by Brian Williams, defeated Team Relief, which included player/coach Angus Eve, 2-1 at the Football For A Cause charity match, which took place, on Friday evening, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
The event featured ex-national footballers, current national women players, as well as members of the hockey, table tennis, cricket and swimming fraternity.
Swimmer Cherelle Thompson and TT women’s footballer Natasha St Louis scoring for Team Hope, while current Central FC coach Stern John replied for Team Relief.
However, the loudest cheers of the night occurred when former Minister of National Security and current Police Commissioner Gary Griffith made a pair of cameo appearances for Team Relief.
National men’s coach Dennis Lawrence, who was one of the chief organisers for the charity match, described the event as “fantastic”.
“I think the most important thing was the cause,” he said. “The reports I’m getting is that we’ve got a room absolutely ram-packed and the donations (were) very good. And everybody came out and enjoyed themselves. From that point of view, I’m delighted.”
Asked if another charity game could be staged in a few weeks’ time, to garner greater public support, Lawrence replied, “Obviously. The idea is the try to have some continuity because we need to always keep coming together, unite, and try to help.”
He continued, “So, we’ll sit down, have a chat because I think (Friday) was a good example for Trinidad and Tobago about when people come together, what (they) can achieve.”
Lawrence was pleased with the positive responses he got from his former TT teammates and members of the sporting fraternity who took part in the charity match.
“It was just one phone call and everybody was on board straight away,” he said.
“That was the easiest part. In terms of the logistics, that would have been the more difficult part, because when you have the Commissioner of Police involved in anything, you need to be very secure.
“All and all, we were pleased, everybody enjoyed themselves. The sponsors, the people that turned up and the media, I want to say thank you very much.”
He ended, “It was on short notice. We weren’t expecting it to be great but we were going to do it anyhow.”
Football For A Greater Cause.
By Shaun Fuentes (Guardian).
In the aftermath of the devastating floods in parts of our country, ordinary citizens, without being told what to do by those in authority, collaborated in a remarkable team effort to try and bring some level of relief to those affected. Modern communications technology and social media made it possible for individuals and groups to self-organise without needing instructions from some sort of central control.
The stranded, rescuers, those in shelters and organisers were using digital platforms to keep in touch with each other. What has been obvious is how the traditional T&T “can-do” spirit took over despite being in a time where our society seemed to have been taken over by an environment that has been relentlessly and apparently purposely negative almost as if designed to divide and demoralise us. The natural events of the past week have reminded me that the force of Mother Nature is absolute and even with all the conveniences of modern life, the impact can be devastating. I am heartened to see how people have been coming together to support each other during this crisis.
It often takes a tragedy to gain true perspective. Dennis Lawrence led the charge on the weekend to bring together a group of powerful, selfless individuals who have served sport in the country, to find some means of gathering all the support possible to assist the flood victims. Let’s be brutally honest here, I for one, and I am sure some of you out there, coming from the environment here in T&T in recent history, have had times when personally it felt that real goodness is nothing but a mere façade, a mask behind which opportunist souls are plotting to pound on you. But following a mere five days of putting minds and hearts together and the staging of “Football for a Cause” on Friday night, I have renewed hope. While as a nation we may be embroiled in all kinds of negativity, recovery from which seems an onerous task, that does not necessitate that there is a dearth of God-fearing, humble souls in the land of the pure. There are still people out there who are rendering volunteer services, making it a point to serve humanity, charging nothing in return.
To the countless citizens who turned up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo just to drop off relief items before going about the rest of their evening’s schedule, we extend a heartfelt thank you. And to those who remained with us to witness the football match filled with spirit, camaraderie and love, you have demonstrated where your heart is. All the players from the Strike Squad era, the 2006 World Cup squad members and the athletes from the various sporting disciplines who walked out onto the pitch to form the love circle before kick off, you all were simply being human in the best possible way—by coming together for a noble cause to try and improve the current state of affairs for so many we may not even know in our country.
"I think we all came together for a greater cause. The contributions made tonight are all for the flood victims and I think we scored a victory tonight as one people coming together for such an event. This was us giving back to the people affected who have been there supporting us athletes over the years," Lawrence said.
It was special to see 1989 Strike squad teammates such as Russell Latapy, Hutson Charles, Leonson Lewis, Kerry Jamerson, Michael Maurice, Floyd Lawrence and Marvin Faustin on the pitch together again. Then the likes of Lawrence, Brent Sancho, Stern John, Kenwyne Jones, Cyd Gray Anthony Wolfe and Clayton Ince from the '06 squad, not to forget Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve, Ansil Elcock, Clint Marcelle, Gary Glasgow and John who at one point were putting on a display in the final period so reminiscent of when they played together more than a decade ago.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith's cameo was encouraging and well received by the fans while the likes of national basketballer Jeffrey Harris, cricketers Kevon Cooper and Dinanath Ramnarine, former goalkeeper Ross Russell, national indoor hockey captain Solomon Eccles and teammates, Rugby player Assan Lewis, women footballers led by Tasha St Louis, Women's cricketer Staci-Ann King, Netballer Sue-ann Cordner and a host of others all put on an enjoyable show. DeFosto, Anslem Douglas, Isasha, Preddy, Laventille Rhythm Section and Maximus Dan and Ultimate Rejects all kept the evening abuzz with entertainment while the many volunteers and service providers ensured the proceedings flowed. To corporate T&T who joined us at late notice and the many members of the local media, your generosity and consistent support were had a significant impact.
This charitable event could now become an annual one with the primary objectives of an annual campaign being to acquire, renew and upgrade donors, continue raising awareness and cultivation. There are always people in need more than we can possibly imagine.
There is a long road to recovery ahead, but I am inspired by the heart, compassion, and grit displayed by all us I am confident that we can become stronger than we were before. It needs to be duly realised that a projection of such humble social endeavours such as Friday’s match hosted by Dennis and Friends needs to be rendered for they are the positive shades that ornament the face of Trinidad and Tobago, manifesting the prevalence of humanity in the hearts and minds of Trinbagonians.