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Six professional football players from Trinidad and Tobago are currently stranded in Barbados as that country’s borders remain closed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. This, even as the government of the twin-island republic prepare to grant special conditions to accommodate this year’s staging of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Marcus Joseph, Taryk Sampson, Nathaniel Garcia, Marvin Phillip, Andre Ettienne and Daneil Cyrus ranging from ages 23 to 36, arrived in Barbados last week Tuesday, July 28, from India. They all played professionally in the India I League for different teams.

Spokesperson for the group Marvin Phillip told Barbados TODAY that since arriving in Barbados they have been staying at Dover Beach Hotel, a government-mandated facility during this Coronavirus pandemic.

He said since being here they have sent official correspondence to the Trinidad and Tobago government. But, so far, they have remained in the dark as they have yet to get a response from their homeland. In the meantime, the young men are working towards boarding a flight this week. According to Phillip, they are hoping to be on the same aircraft that will be transporting cricketers from Barbados to Trinidad and Tobago for the August 18 start of the CPL tournament.

As he explained the situation, Phillip who is a goalkeeper said: “The government gave us a correspondence of the exemption act. We had to finalise our own way back home. There are no commercial flights, borders are still closed, so we got to pay our own way back home which we don’t have a problem with. But we send in suggestions which we can enter back into the country and there is no response from them (government).”

The players are all part of the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors team having played as recently as last year October in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League.

The six men have all been tested as recently as this past Saturday, August 1, while staying at the Christ Church hotel. They each received a negative result the following day and that gave them a bit more freedom to move around the island.

This is not the first time footballers from the land of the hummingbirds have been stranded in Barbados. A few months ago Shirlo Johnson, Shackiel Henry, Dwight Pope and Garnet Diaz who plied their trade for Paradise Football Club in the Coca-Cola Barbados Football Association Premier League were in a similar predicament.

The four men at the time wrote several letters for assistance so they could return home to Trinidad. Eventually after waiting for some time they were all tested, received negative results and through the assistance of the Barbados government were able to return home.

In an effort to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, Trinidad and Tobago continues to keep its borders closed even to its own citizens.

The players have been plying their trade in I League in India since last September. Joseph (forward), Garcia (midfielder) and Andre Ettienne (defender) all played for Gokulam Kerala Club. Meanwhile, Sampson and goalkeeper Phillip featured for Neroca FC while defender Cyrus played for Mohun Bagan AC.

Phillip explained that being away from their family and trying to manage out of pocket was extremely challenging.

“It has been difficult. It has been a long time since we have been away from home but we are trying to make the best out of it. We are out of pocket with no assistance from anyone.

“We were hoping that we had got a flight since arriving here in Barbados through the United Kingdom initially from India. Hopefully, we could get something (flight) probably at the end of this week. If not I think we will run into problems,” Phillip said.

He added: “In the meantime, we definitely will write the government again. We are trying from all aspects. There are currently flights leaving here with the CPL players, so we are trying to get more information about the criteria we need to meet to get on one of those flights.”

SOURCE: Barbados Today