BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT) is providing the energy for a unique partnership through sport between two communities located at virtual opposite ends of Trinidad. The first venture into this initiative took place when Friends and Family Community Group (FFCG) of Carenage played hosts to the All-Mayaro Sports Foundation (AMSF) in a goodwill football match at the Carenage Recreation Ground on December 14.
The game pitted the 2019 knock-out champions of the Carenage All-Star Community Football League, Big Yard, against Caution FC, their counterparts in the Mayaro Football League, in what is expected to be a virtual “twinning” of the two communities through sport.
With both community football leagues, Carenage and Mayaro, sponsored by BPTT, the idea for annual “home-and-away” matches between the respective champions was first mooted by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley when he delivered the feature address at the 2019 prize distribution function of the Carenage League in early October.
The initiative was supposed to kick-off in Mayaro a week before the Carenage exchange but technical problems with floodlights at the designated ground in the south-eastern community aborted that effort. However, both camps took the opportunity on the day to get to know each other.
As for the match itself at Carenage, the home team Big Yard edged Mayaro’s Caution FC 3-2 to earn initial “bragging rights” between the football-proud communities.
Both Carenage and Mayaro boast of nurturing and developing several of TT’s outstanding footballers, in addition to stars in other sporting disciplines. Carenage has turned out a veritable roll-call of national football standouts, among them Dexter Lee, Junior Phillip, Angus Eve, Ron La Forest, Kevin Molino, Alvin Jones and Joevin Jones. Mayaro’s “honours list” includes Peter Alfred, Collin Samuel, Anthony Wolfe, Lindy Prince, Ryan Stewart and Leston Paul.
Leading the way in the twinning exercise are Bartholomew “Bunny” Lynch, president of the All-Mayaro Sports Foundation, and Kyron Williams, president of Friends and Family Community Group. Both organisations are supported by BPTT.
“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this initiative. It is an excellent idea. It is not about winning or losing a football match. In fact, everyone is a winner. There is no loser since it is all about community togetherness and sharing our experiences. They are many similarities between Carenage and Mayaro. Both have developed star footballers and other sporting icons and both communities depend on fishing as a major source of livelihood,” said Williams.
Lynch expressed similar sentiments.
“We have a lot in common, in terms of sports and culture. Sport is one of the greatest unifying elements in our country and if we can use this to generate camaraderie between communities in opposite ends of Trinidad, then we are well on the way to building a worthwhile society. From this football fixture we can expand to cover other sporting events and even cultural exchanges,” Lynch offered.
Both Williams and Lynch lauded BPTT for giving its full support and blessings to the community outreach initiative. The starting point, of course, is the annual football fixture between the Carenage and Mayaro champions who, will compete for the BPTT Community Challenge Cup when the exchange is formalised next year.