Wed, Jul


Lester PeltierLester Peltier left on Monday for a two-week trial in Belgium with the full blessing of his T&T Pro League club CLICO San Juan Jabloteh with which he still has a three-year contract.

Normally, clubs don't release their top prospects easily, but Peltier, who would have been signed by English Premier League club Portsmouth had he secured a work permit last year, now has the chance of landing a short contract with Club Brugge, who are currently fourth in the Belgium First Division.

Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick, a former England defender, made no bones about the fact that financial issues had a bearing on the decision to release Peltier.

"We hope to gain some much needed finances and we are also looking to give the kid a break," Fenwick declared. "We will miss him, but Jabloteh has to be a stepping stone to much better things."

Two months after the meltdown of their main sponsor, CLICO Trinidad & Tobago Limited, Jabloteh have reached a crossroad.

And just four months after CLICO's chief marketing officer Ian Garcia presented Trent Noel with the Most Valuable Player award at the club' s 2008 prize-giving ceremony, Jabloteh's captain has moved to seemingly safer waters by joining United Petrotrin.

At 32, Noel performed at a consistently high enough standard last season to be considered favourite to land the T&T Pro League 2008 Player of the Year. And although his performances on the field finally earned the central midfielder a place on the Trinidad and Tobago national squad, there was no new club contract when his last one ended.

Also out at Jabloteh are experienced left back Nigel Daniel, goalkeeper Daurance Williams and Cyd Gray, as well as youngsters Julien Landeau and Kevin Villaroeul.

Jabloteh will compensate by promoting several youngsters to the first team.

Jerrel Britto is expected to join the First XI, unless Portsmouth sign the striker who recently had a second trial with the English club.

Also to be promoted to first team football are the trio of Kevin Molino, Sheldon Bateau and Robert Primus.

The San Juan club's new dependence on their youth players may be in some trouble, though, as the latter trio were all expected to represent the T&T national Under-20 team in the Pro League, ahead of T&T competing at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt in September.

Fenwick acknowledged that Noel's loss is huge, but feels his youngsters can fill the gap.

"Trent had a great season for us last year," said Fenwick, "but the financial fallout has meant that we have had to operate on a much reduced budget and so we have had to depend on our youth programme to carry the club forward.

"We have lost a mixture of young and experienced players from the team, but I still believe we have a terrific, young squad."

There was also the strong possibility of Jabloteh dropping out of the Caribbean Club Champions Cup, but the recent acquisition of an independent sponsor allowed them to take part in the competition, in which they are scheduled to go into action later this month against Suriname's Moengo Tapoe. The tie, however, may be postponed a few weeks.

Two week ago, when some were certain that Jabloteh would not play in the Caribbean Cup, club chairman Jerry Hospedales was adamant even then that something would work out.

Hospedales said he had a serious responsibility to try and reorganise the club because of the social role they play in the community.

He explained that he had a duty to shelter the Under-16 and senior footballers, as well as the netballers who had found a home with the club.

"Jabloteh is 35 years old and we will survive," Hospedales assured. "From the time the sponsorship changed it represented a significant challenge. It's just six weeks since the situation with CLICO arose, but we are trying to re-organise on our own. We will survive."