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Tue, Aug

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First Citizens Bank yesterday announced an injection of $200,000 in this year’s FCB Cup Knockout competition organised by the Trinidad and Tobago Professional Football League.

The sponsorship, for the second straight year, represents an increase of $50,000 over last year and apart from valuable incentives for the players also offers rich prizes for the media. The details of the renewed association between FCB and the PFL was given at a media conference yesterday in the Penthouse of FCB’s Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain office. In attendance were Sheldon Narine, FCB Communications Officer; Dirk Smith, FCB Corporate Manager, Treasury and International Trade Centre; Larry Romany, chairman of the Professional Football League; and Richard Grodin, General Secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).

Also invited were Harold Taylor, of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and TT football captain. FCB’s Smith said the bank was committed to the sponsorship of the tournament as it plays an important role in moulding the minds and lives of young individuals by instilling in them a sense of disclipine and direction. “We are also aware that the promotion of sport serves to encourage unity and community building and offers an alternative to drugs, crime and violence,” said Smith.

He announced an increase in prize money from $80,000 to $95,000 with the winners collecting $25,000. Runners-up stand to get $16,000. Semi-finalists qualify for a $8,000 payday while quarter-finalists will receive $6,000 with the ninth and tenth placed teams getting $2,000. Smith said incentives for the media will total $10,000 with $2,500 up for grabs in the following categories: Best Photo; Best Press Report; Best Television Report; and Best Radio Report. There will also be an award of $1,500 for the most goals scored by a player during the tournament. The organisers have promised to review this category after Taylor suggested that, being a team sport, the prize should be offered to the club notching the highest amount of goals which will discourage selfish play.

Smith said he was encouraged with the results of the first FCB Cup and the impact it has had on the national game as evidenced by the fact that all members of the TT team, which recently toured southern Africa, had passed through the PFL ranks. Romany, the new PFL chairman appointed to resuscitate the organisation, said he was extremely pleased with the sponsorship. Romany said money provided by FCB will allow the PFL to be a catalyst in the creative process. “It is time for the minds to come together and determine what is best for the sport.

But the future looks bright and we must come together to make FCB proud,” said Romany. According to FCB’s Narine, popularly known as the stand-up comedian “Crazy Catholic,” the first round of the competition gets underway today with four matches. However he said the competition will take a break next week for the friendly international between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. The FCB Cup returns with the second round on July 9. The semi-finals are carded for July 16 and 23 and the final will be on July 30.

TODAY’S RESULTS:

San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Otis Seaton 29th - pen, Trent Noel 70th) vs 0 Caledonia AIA, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo

W Connection 2 (George Isaac 40th, Gefferson Goulart 53rd) vs 1 Defence Force (Kurt Williams 87th -pen), Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva

Starworld Strikers 0 vs 2 North East Stars (Devon Bobb, Kendall Velox), Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella

South West Institute of Football 1 (Marlon Lewis 86th) vs 0 Joe Public, Palo Seco Ground