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THE 2019 BPTT Carenage All-Star Football League seems set for an exciting season, following its official launch which produced a nail-biting finish to an exhibition match between a Carenage All-Star representative team and top professional club San Juan Jabloteh at Carenage Recreation Ground, recently.

With San Juan Jabloteh taking a commanding 4-0 lead into half-time through strikes from Nickel Stephens, Kadeem Hutchinson and Josiah Daniel with an own goal for good measure, it seemed the outcome of the match was a foregone conclusion. However, Carenage came out fighting in the second half to score four times, but were eventually edged out by Jabloteh who added a fifth goal through Nikolai Orr to secure victory. Goalscorers for the plucky Carenage outfit which fielded three Under-16 players, were Anton Hutchinson with a brace, Michael Lansiquot and Trent Noel.

The Carenage All-Star Football League, which has produced a host of national players, was revived in 2018 after a two-year hiatus through the timely sponsorship of BPTT. It is organised by Carenage-based Friends and Family Community Group (FFCG), led by president Kyron Williams.

At the launch which attracted an excellent crowd, Williams commended BPTT for its investment in the youth of the community, noting the FFCG organisation was also involved in social and cultural projects in an effort to develop all-round citizens.

Representing the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Hazel-Ann Paul, physical education and sport officer one, said the ministry appreciated the efforts of FFCG as the initiative is led by the community itself. “Football is recognised as the world’s foremost sport and has the power to overcome obstacles of discord and disunity and can unite countries and people,” said Paul, who also applauded BPTT’s intervention in reviving the league.

Also addressing the launch were Susan Hong, chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation and councillor Akilah Glasgow.

Christion Baptiste of the Carenage All-Star team, admitted his players were over-run in the first half, but demonstrated greater intensity in the second as they were able to put their game plan in action. “It was very close in the end and we had chances to go all the way but time ran out on us. We fielded three Under-16 players today and they all gave good account of themselves. Judging by today’s match, the 2019 season should be very competitive and of a high standard. We are sure some of these young players will go on to emulate the stars from Carenage who have represented TT in football,” said a confident Baptiste.

Keith Jeffrey, technical director, San Juan Jabloteh, said the exhibition game was a “good run-run” for his team which is participating in the Ascencion One Football League. “The standard of play in Carenage is high and this match will keep us in top shape for our competitive matches. We must commend FFCG and their sponsors, BPTT, for keeping football alive and well here in Carenage. Any sporting discipline, such as football, delivers a lot for human development and we have to commend everyone for their commitment to this initiative,” said Jeffrey.

A total of 12 teams have registered for league competition with teams divided into two groups. Group A comprises Razor Edge, TTDF First Engineer Battalion, One United, Role Models, Green Pastures and Scorpion. Big Yard, 13 Posse, Mt Pleasant Emerald FC, Black Box and Step by Step FA make up Group B.