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KEEPING with its slogan “Building communities through sport,” the 2020 Community Football League (CFL) is ready to kick off again. The league’s 2020 edition was officially launched, on Saturday evening, at the South-West Regional Indoor Arena, in Point Fortin.

It will feature a total of 14 teams – four more than in 2019 – in two groups. The top four teams from each group will then move on to the knock-out stage, with quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

The new additions include teams from Palo Seco, Fyzabad, Erin and Egypt Village. The groups were named after two retired professional T&T footballers, who the CFL will also be honouring this year – Leroy DeLeon and Philbert Jones.

DeLeon’s prime was in the 70s as he was part of the national team and played in the US for teams like the New York Generals, the Washington Darts and the Miami Gatos. He was also inducted into the First Citizens Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008.

Jones was a striker for the national team when it was known as the Strike Squad. He was also the assistant coach of T&T Pro League team United Petrotrin and is the uncle of former national captain Kenwyne Jones. Last year, the league honoured former players Larry Joseph and Russell Monroe.

This year’s winners will receive the championship trophy and $20,000. CFL chairman Reynold Carrington told the players not to lose focus on what the league is trying to achieve.

“You are not just representing yourself, you are not only representing football. You are representing your communities.

“Play hard, play fair and play to win. I don’t want you going out there to give away no points.”

In the Jones group are the defending champions – Guapo, Point Ligoure, New Village, La Brea, Fanny Village, Erin, and Vance River.

And in the DeLeon group are Techier, Mahaica, Lake View, Cedros, Fyzabad, Palo Seco and Egypt.

CFL vice-chairman Sean Eastman said last year, the team did not expect the “overwhelming response” the league got and that he is very thankful.

“When we did our analysis, we thought we would not have seen that type of growth until the next three years and we were surprised by the way everybody gravitated.

“The communities were overwhelming. They supported in every aspect.”

He said the 2019 season was a successful one and he’s looking forward to the continued support this year.

“Not just because we had great football on the field, excellent talent, excellent skill, excellent display, but we also saw the connection of the community and that’s one of the aspects that was very important for us.”

The first two games kick off on Friday as Cedros takes on Palo Seco at 6 pm and New Village will face Guapo. Both games will be played at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin.

Other weekend fixtures

(all matches to be held at the Mahaica Oval):

Saturday

Point Ligoure v Vance River – 6 pm

Mahaica v Lake View - 8 pm

Sunday

La Brea vs Fanny Village – 6 pm

Fyzabad v Techier – 8 pm

SOURCE: T&T Newsday