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Shabazz tells Morvant/Laventille youth: Use Caledonia’s success as an example
Jamaal Shabazz, technical director of Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA has dedicated the team’s 2–0 victory over Central FC in Friday’s FA Trophy final to the members of his community.
Caledonia got goals from Keyon Edwards and Akim Armstrong to bring victory and joy to the Morvant/Laventille community.
Speaking after the “Stallions” had galloped past the “Sharks” in the 83rd edition of the competition which was first held in 1927, Shabazz said the victory was a shining light in the darkness of Morvant and Laventille and the entire east Port-of-Spain community.
Prior to the FA triumph, its second straight and third in club history, Caledonia had successfully defended the First Citizens Cup. However, Shabazz was elated over Friday’s victory because he feels that his team has shown the ability to rise over adversity and achieve against the odds.
“We have lost three players from our youth teams to the violence while one of our Pro League players was shot but survived. The gang violence is something real to us,” he stressed.
“It is not easy to focus on football when bodies of family, friends and supporters are dropping around you, explained Shabazz.
“I must commend coach Jerry Moe and the rest of the staff and the players for keeping focused. We can only continue to try to be positive and let our example be something for the young people in our community to emulate."
Caledonia, which won the Caribbean Football Union Club Championships, First Citizens Cup, FA Trophy and the Lucozade Sports Shield last season, is only four points away from Digicel Pro League leaders Defence Force, after ending third last season and Shabazz is confident his team will continue bagging silverware.
He added, “I think Caledonia has a very realistic chance of winning the league and the presence of Densill Theobald and Nuru Muhammad could be a huge factor.”
With regards to the Pro League title, the Soca Warriors coach said, “The league race is far from over, we have seen Defence Force on the rampage but defending champions DirecTV W Connection and Caledonia are still in striking distance. We are also seeing an improving Central and North East Stars, which are both mathematically still in with a chance”, stated Shabazz.
Asked what plans are in place for the team with respect to their FA win which brought no financial reward due to a lack of funds by the T&TFF, Shabazz said the Neal and Massy sponsored squad is still planning a gala-celebration.
“We need to make a community celebration and see how we can use this collective achievement to inspire a new spirit within our community. A spirit of working together so that we can live good, not continue this carnage of death and destruction that pervades our streets”, insisted Shabazz.
With Friday’s win, Caledonia, which won its first FA in 2008, and 1–0 over six-time holders, Defence Force last year, joined an illustrious group of clubs that have won the tournament back-to-back.
The others were four-time winners Everton (1929–32), three-time champions Colts (1944–45), six-time champs, United British Oilfields Trinidad (1950–51), joint record seven-time holders Malvern United (1960–61) and Maple Club (1970–72) as well as two-time victors Aviation Services Limited (ASEL) Sports Club (1982–83), and three-time champions DirecTV W Connection (1999–2000).
Shabazz also has a chance to defend the CFU Club Championship crown with the withdrawal of local club, T&TEC from the competition due to financial reasons.
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