Tue, Jun


EASTERN COUNTIES will kick off their 2022 football season on October 9th, while both the Northern and Central Football Association competitions are expected to start soon.

Six regional associations have benefited from sponsorship by the Ascension Football Tournament, which committed to investing in zonal football, as well as the Women League Football competition.

This comes after two years of inactivity due to the Covid-19 epidemic and Government only lifting subsequent playing restrictions in March this year.

Ascension’s sponsorship offer was made in July by Kieron Edwards, tournament director of the Ascension Tournament. It was noted that each zone would receive $60,000 in prize money, as well as an estimated $30,000 for referees’ fees and other operational costs. The prize structure is first—$30,000, second—20,000 and third—$10,000.

Already, the Southern FA, Eastern Football Association (EFA), Tobago FA and the women’s league are underway.

NFA finally agrees

However, the Sunday Express learned that the Northern Football Association had initially rejected the Ascension offer. However, NFA president Ross Russell, the former Defence Force and T&T goalkeeper, has suggested that whatever concerns they have had been alleviated.

“We supposed to start by the end of the month (September),” Russell informed, suggesting that the NFA needed solid confirmation from Ascension before committing to the season.

“We have it in writing,” Russell added. “We having a competition via them (Ascension) because they say that they will sponsor the league.”

NFA secretary Akel Baig also suggested that the start has been hampered by the lack of grounds and also by community issues, with NFA teams coming from several crime hot spots.

“It’s tough, with a couple of little things, such as home grounds and the crime issue in certain areas, such as with Laventille United and (the dangers of) players moving from Belmont into Laventille and Patna Village. It’s a lot of little issues.”

Eastern Counties set to start

Meanwhile, Eastern Counties football was due to begin this weekend, but has been pushed back to October 9. Newly-elected ECFU president Ian Pritchard acknowledged the late start and expects his competition to run all the way to January 2023.

“We were supposed to start on Sunday, (today), but we have been pushed back until the ninth of October,” Pritchard announced.

The Eastern Counties competition will see 13 teams divided into two groups, playing home and away matches across areas such as Mayaro, Sangre Grande, Mafeking, Sangre Chicito, North East Coast, Tamara, Valarie Hill, Niche, Manzanilla, Toco and so on.

Pritchard explained the late start as due to not wanting to disrupt traditional minor leagues that had started, while the ECFU were still working out their funding issues.

“We didn’t want to compete with any league because the same footballers that play in the minor league play in the ECFU (competition), Pritchard explained. “There is competition for grounds as well,” he added.

“We had the Sweet 16 which completed in August. Then we have the Anton Wolfe Sweet 16 that is going on and we also have the Mayaro Football League that starts soon. So, we competing for grounds also.”

Pritchard stated further: “As the national organisation responsible for football in the region, we wanted to give players the best opportunity to play football. We did not know when we would have started because football had not been playing before. So, instead of competing, we collaborated, by allowing these leagues that had their dates set before, to proceed. We made the compromise.”

Randolph Boyce has taken over as CFA president from Doc Engineering boss Shymdeo Gosein. Boyce also expects Central football, which caters for clubs in areas such as Caroni, Chaguanas, and environs to start soon, but does not yet have a kick-off date.

“We are having a competition,” Boyce replied confidently, “We are submitting some documents to the TTFA (Trinidad and Tobago Football Association) and when they get that, they will be able to give us a start date.”

SOURCE: T&T Express