The Laventille United Football club members were honoured at an Awards Ceremony held at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Tuesday afternoon for its achievements in its inaugural year involved in National club football.
The club, founded by Cedric Hazelwood, presented a senior men’s team now called Miscellaneous Laventille United and participated in the Northern Football Association (NFA) First Division in 2016 following a partnership with the Miscellaneous Group in September.
This followed after the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sham Mohammed took a special interest in the talent coming out of Laventille during a Football 7s tournament sponsored by the Miscellaneous Group and staged at the St Paul Street Recreational Ground in conjunction with the Inter-Agency Task Force Hearts and Minds Programme earlier this year, before the team joined the NFA.
Hazelwood said that being able to see players and supporters from communities that were at some point warring with each other, turning up at matches supporting one cause and one team was the biggest achievement for him.
“I am proud to stand here to say to say that we have reached this stage in Laventille where over the last few years we know that every day was a murder on the street, around our homes. The governments ministries tried a lot of programmes in Laventille to curb crime and it never really worked. I think it had more crime. Since we started on August 1st, with the support of Miscellaneous Group and its CEO Sham Mohammed, we have seen a lot of improvements and achievements in Laventille.
“This is something great where, as mentioned by Mr Fuentes earlier on, we could have players from different parts of Laventille coming together to play football which is something that can bring the whole world together. this was the right vehicle to use to break down the barriers in Laventille. We had players brining supporters from their communities who were at once warring against each other. They all came together to support one team and for me and all of us here, this is a major success because of this programme,” Hazelwood added.
“We are committed to the work ahead because it helps us send a positive message throughout Laventille and the rest of the country,” he added.
The members of the squad come from various areas within Laventille, from Beverly Hills,St Paul Street, John John, Snake Valley, Mentor Alley, Block 22, Higher and Lower Picton , Soogrim Trace to Despers Centre and other areas.
The club honoured its outstanding performers with Dalone Murrell receiving the Most Dedicated Player award, Kareem Charles, the 26-year-old from Morvant taking the topscorer award, Richard Hannaway, a 23-year-old striker from Mentour Alley taking the Most Promising Player award and Brad Clifton receiving the “Most Valuable Player” award. All players and staff were also honoured with commemorative medals.
Mohammed has pledged continued assistance as the club’s main financier and there are already plans to expand the team’s backroom staff and technical video analysis sessions being added to the team’s programme for the 2017 season in the NFA Premier Division
The Laventille team finished second in the NFA First Division and earning promotion to the Premier Division for next year. The team also reached the quarterfinals of the NFA’s FA Cup tournament, also reaching the quarterfinals of the NFS Fruta Cup at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
The club has also set up youth development programmes with teams in the Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 age groups.