Limited resources, in terms of finance as well as the player pool, is affecting the fortunes of three-time TT Pro League champions Central FC, according to the club’s owner Brent Sancho.
Last week, Sancho’s former Trinidad and Tobago teammate and the club’s coach Stern John made his competitive comeback, at the age of 40.
The decision to use John as a player/coach has been criticised by players and fans of local football, especially as the legendary TT striker is also an assistant to national men’s team coach Dennis Lawrence.
Central FC are currently seventh in the 10-team points standings with 10 points from as many games, and they suffered a resounding 6-0 beating by North East Stars in their last game on Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
John was accused by members of the North East Stars team of alleged belittling comments about their skills, as well as their prospects of gaining selection on the national squad.
Sancho, during an interview yesterday, called the issue of John’s return to the competitive arena, as well as his barbs towards the North East players, as a “non story.”
He pointed out, “We have a limited squad. It’s well documented. We have six injuries in the squad.
“He’s fit enough to play and he has the ability still to play. So he could play.
“I have no problem with that. He was registered from before anyway. It’s not the first time this has happened.”
Sancho continued, “As I’ve said before, the real story is why is this situation occurring, in terms of the League. And I don’t see like anyone wants to address this situation. I don’t know if people are afraid to say that the clubs were promised subventions from the start of the season by the Ministry of Sport. And we’re all in this situation now because of broken promises. So I don’t know what else (people) expect the clubs to do.”
Sancho, the former Minister of Sport, admitted that the financial plight have left a number of players disenchanted.
“It’s not much you can do,” he acknowledged.
“You just have to hang on. And that is what we’ve been doing. We’ve been trying to make sure we can continue. We have a service to over 300 footballers.
“What would happen if this League crashes? What you think will happen with the crime rate? That is my problem. This is not about me. This is about young men and football in this country. That is the bigger picture.”
Are the club owners trying to mobilise support from within the League to address the subvention issue, as to whether or not it will resume and what alternative measures will be taken?
Sancho replied, “The owners have to stop thinking about who want to win the League. The survival of the League is the most important thing. We haven’t gotten subventions since April.
“That is not fair. That is the number one challenge. Nobody is saying that the League should be hand-and-foot on the Government, but you have to look at what this League brings to this country. This thing has realistic implications.
“I don’t know if it’s a political thing and I don’t care. My main concern is the sportsmen and sportswomen who are struggling to put books in their children’s bags. In terms of the League, we’ll have to re-function. Central would change our module and be competitive, that’s for sure.”