Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe has challenged groups to emulate the work of the Community Champion of Champions Football Tournament.
The tournament, held from May 21 to 26, was the first of its kind in the country, where grassroots footballers in villages challenge each other for the title of ultimate Champion of Champions. The winning team, Church Street Bethel, earned $50,000 and a challenge trophy.
The purpose of the games was to showcase the best of local football and encourage wide participation, while working closely with key stakeholders.
The first runner-up was 1976 FC Phoenix. Lambeau FC and Signal Hill FC placed third and fourth, respectively.
Speaking during the prize distribution function at the Orange Business Group Headquarters in Carnbee, last Tuesday, Cudjoe commended the organisers, noting it is important to invest in the youths at the community level.
“Sport has the ability to bring us together like nothing else can, build that unity, that discipline, that camaraderie, that teamwork… It is important for us to invest in sport, especially at the community level,” she said.
Cudjoe encouraged those gathered to make use of the sporting facilities on the island.
“Some of these fields are underutilised, community centres… underutilised. So, it is the responsibility of the community to put your hands and hearts together and get the stakeholders going to utilise the facilities and provide opportunities for the youth.
“You don’t have to wait on the Tobago Footballers Association, you don’t have to wait on Hill Bouncers, you don’t have to wait on any other entity… you as the community have that right, that responsibility, that freedom, that competence and that ability to rally your stakeholders together and do what needs to be done for the development of sport, and mostly for the development of all young people.”
The Minister added: “Organise yourself, get your leagues together, be genuine in your endeavours. We need to get our young people off the streets and into doing something positive. I work in Trinidad, I spend a lot of my time in Trinidad. I am seeing what is taking place in Trinidad, and we as government have to grapple with that, but that doesn’t say the same thing doesn’t exist in Tobago.
"I am also Member of Parliament with responsibility for Golden Lane/ Les Coteaux area and I always say that I am concerned about some of these communities that are giving some trouble. We can’t pretend not to see it, and when you’re in positions to do something you have to do it, and that’s your responsibility to yourself, to your family, to your community and to your God… That is how far this thing goes and that is how serious it is."