A $1.5-million-dollar Tiger Tanks-sponsored Under-20 Football Tournament is set to kick off in February next year and is expected to be used in the future for the preparation of national teams.
Dennis Latiff, Tiger Tanks' general manager revealed his plans on Tuesday but he made it clear that play will be subjected to the government's return-to-play orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Latiff, an emerging sporting pride in the southland, said the tournament will be held for one month among 14 selected teams, 10 from Trinidad and the other four from the sister isle of Tobago, with the winner due to cash in on a $20, 000 first prize cheque and $10, 000 for the runner-up.
Latiff told Guardian Media Sports on Tuesday that the prize structure could change before the start of the tournament, as the quantity of potential sponsors increases. However, if all goes well with the tournament it will lead to a resulting Under-20 League to be held at a time to be decided, Latiff said.
Latiff's $1.5 million output will include monies for prizes, investment to have live matches and other games on television, payment of two uniforms each (home and away) for every team, insurance for all players, payment of officials (referees, linesmen, commissioners), sponsorship for a social media platform, sponsorship for marketing of the tournament, and a $1,500 incentive for the best defender, best midfielder, best forward, best coach, most goals and man of the match.
He said, invitations were sent to 24 teams from both the T&T Pro League and the T&T Super League, but FC Santa Rosa, a Super League contender has refused to accept, while three other teams La Horquetta Rangers, Cunupia FC and Point Fortin Civic FC are undecided about their participation.
" In the first instance, it is going to be a tournament and after we see how that takes off then it may turn into a league. It will be like the 10 teams here. The Tobago teams will play each other twice in a round-robin play-off, but in Trinidad, we're not too sure because we're looking at the times and so on, that we will get for the stadia, but most likely, it would be each one play one another over here. We haven't gotten permission as yet, everything is being planned and whenever the government says that we're able to play football, whatever guidelines that they have in place, we will put in place. So it's just preparation for when football opens. When that happens we will have everything there and ready to go. The only thing that will be put in place then will be the guidelines for COVID-19," Latiff explained.
He continued. "I want to help with this league to prepare national teams. I am not saying we're only picking national people from it, but I want to use this to prepare national teams. A lot more will come pretty soon with this league, we should be laying out things by Friday (November 19) of this week. It was supposed to be last Friday but there was a little setback, some people got sick and so on and I had to wait on them to finish something that they didn't finish."
He gave the assurance that all teams, coaches, officials, spectators and everyone who would be involved in the tournament will be required to be fully vaccinated in accordance with government's 'vaccinate to operate' mandate.
On November 5, the Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh blanked a proposal by the Ascension Football Tournament of T&T to have a League played in an all-vaccinated environment. That League was scheduled to incorporate teams from both the T&T Super League and T&T Pro League etc and was expected to be guided by some 30 rules and regulations to guard against the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian