A San Fernando football club which has assisted hundreds of players over the past three years has been invited to compete in the Manchester 2023 Easter Cup scheduled for April.
But Premiere Sports Club head coach Sharaz Ali said the team needs $300,000 to pay for accommodation and airline tickets if they are to go to England for the competition on April 9-10.
In an exclusive interview with Guardian Media, Ali said since the club started in 2018, hundreds of youths have benefitted.
“We play three times a week at the Skinner Park Second Field and we focus on the development of young players. We have children from different communities such as Embaccadere, Pleasantville, and San Fernando,” he said.
Many times students cannot afford football boots and Ali said he was fortunate that Gaffar GPS has been supporting the club often buying football gear for underprivileged children.
“Players who show potential, we give them a waiver on the fees and we encourage them to stay on the path of goodness and greatness,” Ali added.
He said the players who started with him at age 12 were now writing the CSEC examinations but had managed to stay on top of their grades.
” I am proud of them. Some of them are playing Intercol and are on the national team and playing in leagues in different countries. Football has had a positive impact on them, allowing them to express themselves and have a sense of all-around holistic development,” he said.
Ali said funding has been a major challenge for the club.
“It is difficult to run a club with hundreds of children, especially since not everyone can afford the training fee and that’s why we have reached out to corporate T&T to help. Apart from this the Skinner Park Seconds Grounds need repairs. We also need assistance to fix the toilets,” he said. He said his mentor Joel Warick, head coach of Trincity Nationals has been supportive.
“My goal is to help the entire community. I want to have my facility one day where I can host tournaments and invite international players,” he said.
The team’s goalkeeper Jayden Pollard also called for support.
“This trip holds a lot of opportunities for me and my teammates and we are looking forward to it,” he said.
Parent Ginelle Francois-Mentor also praised the club saying she was pleased the focus was not only on football but also balancing academics with the sport.
“Football has developed him holistically, I am seeing an improvement in his deportment, physically there is a difference and an improvement overall,” she said.
She added: “The Coach here pushes them academically as well.”
Anyone wanting to assist the club can call Ali at 307-9924, or make donations to First Citizens Account Number 250-7109.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian