New Central Football Association (CFA) president Shymdeo Gosine will close off the 2015 football season with a grand Football Festival and Awards ceremony tomorrow which will be dedicated to the communities and people of central Trinidad.
He is calling on all families to come out to the event that will feature live entertainment from the soca parang king Crazy and other artistes, as well as tassa groups, together with eats and drinks. He is adamant, though, that no alcoholic beverages will be available either on sale or otherwise.
For the children, there will be face paintings, a bouncy castle and other events. All this will coincide with the staging of the Hugo Francis Memorial Knock Out Final at the newly refurbished Woodford Lodge Recreational Facility from 3 pm.
In the final, Harlem Strikers will face the winner of the other semifinal between seasoned central campaigners Leeds FC and Perseverance Ballrunners that was scheduled to be played at 7 pm last night at Woodford Lodge. Following the match, the champion team will be crowned along with winners of the other competitions and will be presented with their prizes in front of a number of top dignitaries such as Minister of Sports Darryl Smith, Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan, members of the Ramsingh family which have sponsored a number of competitions in the CFA, as well as their families, friends and well wishers.
Gosine told the Guardian that he was saddened to have seen that the previous administration had only left $26,000 in the association’s account on their exit and from it $15,000 had to be used to pay referees for outstanding fees. He explained that it was through the contributions of people, such as the Ramsingh family, that they were able to put together a decent prize structure for teams that have worked hard on the field this season.
FA Cup champs St Mary’s Soccerworld will receive a prize of $10,000 while Harlem Striker will walk away with $5,000 for the runner-up prize while third will get $3,000. Initially the teams were expected to receive $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for the top three places by the previous administration but Gosine said he felt it was unfair for teams to be given so little after such a tough season.
“I called Ramsingh and begged him to increase the prizes for the FA Cup and he did it, so I am really appreciative for that,” Gosine said.
There were also changes in the League Cup. Champion team Perseverance Ballrunners will now receive $12,000 instead of $10,000 for their triumph while Harlem Strikers will collect $7,500. Third and fourth placed teams will get $5,000 and $2,000 respectively.
Meanwhile the winner of tomorrow’s knock-out final will walk away with a $10,000, a trophy and the bragging rights as knock-out champs. But Gosine, who only recently took over at the helm of the football association in the central area has also announced that attempts will be made to restructure central football to mirror football internationally. This he explained will first begin with a major change in the prize structure of the League to a whopping $45,000.
He noted that attempts are currently being made to finalise the runner-up and other prizes for the league but he felt it was necessary for the main competition in the zone to carry the biggest prize. This year’s league prize carried a $10,000 winner’s cheque which will be handed to Fire Services on Friday. Harlem Strikers, Leeds FC and St Mary’s Soccerworld will get second, third and fourth placed prizes respectively at the prizegiving.
According to the central football boss, he will also increase the amount of teams in the top flight competition from nine to 24 in 2016 and will restructure the youth tournaments to make it more attractive. “Football in central must be the tournament that every team wants to participate in. It must be managed and played similar to how international football is played in top football countries,” Gosine explained.