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Civic Revival

Something good is happening in Point Fortin. It’s called Point Fortin Civic FC—the rebirth of the former Point Fortin Civic Centre football team of the late 1970s.

The mayor has gotten involved, and so too has the community. Point Fortin mayor Clyde Paul is a big supporter and has done his part for the growth of the Point community by employing nine Civic players with his borough council. A few small contractors have done likewise, but as yet the big companies have not.

“The Point community have bought into the idea of Point Fortin Civic,” declared team manager Ken McCrea. “That is why you will see thousands turning out. But, corporate Point has not shown so far. We are still hoping that Petrotrin, (Atlantic) LNG and so on  like what they see and get involved with this community.”

Three years ago, the experiment to take Civic Centre back to the top began. It was forged out of the “old boys” team, the remnants of the great Civic Centre team that began in the SFA in 1969 and produced future Trinidad and Tobago national players Leroy De Leon, Kenny Joseph, Wilfred Cave, Miguel Hackett, Dick Furlonge, Steve David and others.

Civic Centre never won the National League, but could give anyone trouble at home, including the big teams, like Defence Force, Trintoc and Police. But, Civic Centre was a spent force by the time the National Football League folded, and were booted out of the Professional Football League in 2002, after being one of the original members in 1999. It was David, Cave, DeLeon and others from the former era who began the revival of Civic Centre.

“We have an old boys team and over the years we thought about doing something for the community,” McCrea said. “We wanted to see the club back at the top again.”

Coach Reynold Carrington became available and the road back for Civic Centre began. Fifth in the SFA in 2011, Civic made a clean SFA sweep in 2012. But six months ago they were struggling to win promotion to the second-tier National Super League when finishing two from bottom in the six-team National Super League promotion series, and losing as big as 5-1 to Guaya United.

“We did not win promotion to the Super League and would have lost our best players, such as Marcus Joseph. A decision was then made to apply directly to the Pro League.”

They rest is history. Now, with the rhythm section, big flags and a vocal following, Point Fortin Civic have taken the Pro League by storm. Top players returned: Sylvester Teesdale, Andrei Pacheco, Andre Toussaint, Matthew Bartholomew, Kevin Modeste, Bevon Bass, Lyndon Diaz and Marvin Phillip have all lined up in Civic’s yellow and red stripes.

They are unbeaten and joint Pro League leaders after two matches, but against North East Stars and four-time Pro League W Connection proved that Civic Centre are up to the level of competition. What is most distinctive about Civic Centre this season is community support.

“The South West have a history of strong support for sport. They have been waiting for years to support a team at the highest level,” Carrington declared. “It also lifts a player when you have two thousand and three thousand people backing you in a League where crowd support is not good.”

Civic Centre is determined to continue building from the bottom. They still maintain a team in the SFA, and beginning this week two former Civic Centre and Trinidad and Tobago national players will begin coaching sessions in the nine primary schools in the South West district, hoping to spot a gem from early. Carrington also has “realistic” expectations.

“A top four finish is realistic,” the Civic coach declared. “I don’t want to give players the impression that we are going to beat everybody everyday. But, we are going to try and do our best every time.”