After just ten months in existence Central FC has achieved so much that I am moved to write that the young kid on the block has now become the teacher.
A creditable mid-table finish in their inaugural season in the T&T Pro League, semifinal play in the FA and the formation of three youth teams are big enough but what has impressed me is the vision of the club’s leaders that has led to football gaining a second life in the previously dormant central area.
Central FC has ignited a passion for football among the youths in central that is unbelievable. I must say the respect I had for former Soca Warriors defender Brent Sancho has shot up sky-high limits after seeing what this local footballing visionary has been able to do from the Caroni plains to the sandy Claxton Bay area.
Initially schooled in the dynamics of football and football administration in Europe, Sancho wanted to give back and my word he has been giving back aplenty.
After parting ways with North East Stars where he made quite an impression, Sancho decided to go to the untouched central area and unearth talent that he believed was there. After months of slicing through the pile he has reported that there is an abundance of talent that just needs to be harnessed. Now this football factory called Central FC is turning out high-quality players from every age group.
Only a mad man would have ventured into starting up a professional club is very trying times but Sancho with his diplomatic style was able to win over many influential fans to assist with his development.
Firstly, his man the English-born Kevin Harrison shared the vision with him and they packed bags and just like Anthony Harford had done for Preysal Sports in cricket, they headed to the central plains. Today they are no less centralised than any of the residents from down there. Sancho was able to win over the confidence of Super Industrial Services (SIS) Limited and has been partnering with the company as one of the major sponsors of the club to transform the look of football in central.
SIS has been at his side, walking hand-in-hand with the club and taking it even further by going into the communities. The work on the field is transformed off the field as well, and Central FC has been doing loads of social work in the area.
Money is not plentiful for the youthful club but ideas are and they have been able through meaningful partnerships, to assist many citizens from the central area. So while the players battle opponents on the field, Sancho and staff battle the social ills in the area as well.
Just two weeks, they held a very successful “Treat her like a Lady” event for women from the Rape Crisis Centre. They took them to the Trinidad Hilton and treated them to good food, wine, music and gifts, just to show that they cared. Where can you find a football club doing so much in this country and even the region. It takes vision and passion and Sancho, Harrison and the boys possess a lot of that.
There is still more work to be done but Central FC is willing to continue. One of the biggest accomplishments in my opinion is the fact that they have now widened the available talent pool for the national selectors. They have been able to go into remote areas like Crown Trace and unearth football talent.
Central FC has served as a talent scout for the T&T Football Federation (TTFF) without being asked to. The young ones can now play the game at a good level, be exposed to the professional football environment and get that opportunity to make a name for themselves in the sport.
It has been a case of the tail wagging the dog because when I look at some of the initiatives of the club, I think that the TTFF should be doing this. Central FC plays in the T&T Pro League but has done more marketing for the league in terms of their presence all over, doing positive work, then even the league’s officials.
Central FC is showing the way. We might live in a developing country but this football club in the heart of the Industrial Estate is showing the nation what it takes to become first world. Service to humanity is service to God and this young club has put a smile on many faces in central Trinidad that must be pleasing to the master.
One hopes that his blessings can come showering down for the good guys at Central FC because it is institutions like this one that would take our country forward. We need to join with them in their vision for a better community and use sport as they have done to bring the communities into the light.
Well done guys, the sky is the limit.