Tue, Jun


Though competition in other zones may have ended in December and plans are being made for the coming season, there is still action taking place in the North Zone football competition.

Clint Marcelle, a former national midfielder who is now a vice president of the zone, explained the board of the NFA took a decision to move away from the customary four-month football period for the sake of a better run tournament and to enhance development. 

Competition in the zones kicks off at the end of July due to the seasonal nature of sports in T&T to allow cricket to be played and it goes until the most part of December. But within that period of time the north zone encounters problems to complete their activities which include a League tournament, an FA Cup competition and a Superstar Cup competition among others. 

Marcelle said they have had to squeeze in all competitions within the four-month time frame which is becoming even more challenging now. 

“We have a number of factors to consider such as the fact that most players have jobs and therefore they are being asked to leave their jobs early to reach in time for matches which is difficult. Also because the zone is a feeder programme to the National teams and TT Pro League teams, we feel that players should be given sufficient time to prove themselves on the field and this extension will allow this to happen” Marcelle said. 

In addition to extending the time frame, the board also took a decision to revert to the communities by utilising recreation grounds where  teams exist. As such a number of mid-week matches have been played under lights at the community grounds. 

“We also play night football at the weekend as well, but we play more matches under lights in the week. It will also be better for players to walk out of their homes and play in matches where they can be supported by their families, friends and well wishers” Marcelle noted. 

He told the Guardian the change will also allow players the opportunity to leave work and be at matches in time. This year action in the zone got off to a late start Marcelle said, because NFA officials had to organise finances to pay referees and other officials. 

“We do not receive any funding from the parent T&T Football Association (TTFA) and therefore we have to raise funds to pay our expenses” the ex- speedy winger said. Competition is expected to be completed by the end of February, following which there will be a prizegiving and awards ceremony. According to Marcelle, the zone is also due to hold its Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers this year and a date will be set by out-going president Roland Forde soon. 

Forde told the Guardian last year he would not be seeking re-election at the helm of the embattled organisation. His position is being contested by Marcelle, Nevick Denoon, coach and manager of Morvant Elements and popular sports administrator Anthony Harford. 

It is understood the regional associations, which include the NFA, were mandated to hold their elections before the AGM/Elections of the parent football association which was held on November 29 last year.