IN A week that will see Central FC compete in its third Pro League season and debut in the Caribbean Club Championship, as well as battle with W Connection for the Charity Shield, one would assume that the club’s management would be solely focused on football.
But, according to Managing Director Brent Sancho and Operations Director Kevin Harrison, their time is increasingly spent on non-footballing matters.
“Obviously, football is where we want to spend our time,” said Sancho. “But we have a responsibility to our sponsors to ensure they receive as much value for money from their generosity. Super Industrial Services (SIS) have always told us that their reason for supporting the club was our ‘Football in the Community programme’.”
Sancho said that the relationship with SIS has matured into a positive working relationship that has gradually seen both organisations identify key groups to work together with including focusing on various women’s issues and encouraging children to partake in sport.
“This current campaign will see Central FC visiting various primary schools in the Central region to distribute free footballs to the schools. It’s really a way of reaching out to children to encourage them to get active in sport, and hopefully, become Sharks supporters!”
Sancho and Harrison visited the government primary schools in Chaguanas and California last week to distribute the footballs and talk to the children about their experiences overseas, which gave them the opportunity to promote yesterday’s Charity Shield game vs W Connection.
“It’s key to get children into the habit of supporting their local professional clubs,” said Harrison. “Even if all they do is check out the match results, at least there will be the beginning of a bond between supporter and club. We have to think long term, as clubs such as Manchester United and Barcelona have had over 100 years head start on us!”
But the duo have not completely taken their eyes off the ball. “We’re spending less and less time being involved with the day to day running of the football team, which we both find quite difficult,” said Harrison. “But we have an excellent staff managing the squad and we are confident that we will be challenging for titles again this year.”
Sancho said, “we have some very exciting youngsters coming through such as Nicholas Dillon, Kevon Goddard and Levi Garcia, but I’m expecting Ataulla Guerra to really fulfil his potential and become the league’s marquee player.” But even inside Central FC, Guerra will have to work hard to prove himself.
Sancho continued, “I’m confident that Leston Paul and Sean de Silva will become regulars in the national team squads, while Darren Mitchell, Nathaniel Garcia and Kaydion Gabriel will also become noticed. There’s so much competition for starting spots, its scary.”
He added, “up front, I can see an epic battle between Dillon, Dwight Quintero and Qian Grosvenor, with Jason Marcano fighting to keep his place too. It’s a great problem for coach (Zoran) Vranes to have.”
Action will begin in the TT Pro League on Friday 26 when the California-based club face St Ann’s Rangers at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva at 6 pm and “the Sharks” have another date with Connection, this time in the league, on October 3 at 8 pm, also at Couva.
In the meantime, Central FC will continue to visit primary schools in the Central region to not only distribute footballs, but encourage them to support local football in a more meaningful way.