Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Red Force gets $1m send off
The Ministry of Tourism yesterday handed over $1M to the T&T cricket team for the upcoming Champions League in India. With this being T&T’s last chance at the Champions League T20 tournament, the government has decided to come on board to maximize the exposure and has invested $1M to the team and will also send Tourism Ambassador Brian Lara to India to promote brand T&T. Lara will also be used in the dual role of mentor for the national team, as it is well known the difference he made to the Red Steel during the recently Caribbean Premier League in the Caribbean.
The $1M given to the team will be shared 50/50, as the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) would retain $500,000 to offset expenses related to participating in the tournament and the other $500,000 will be shared among the players. Making the presentation was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Juliana Boodram who urged the players to play with passion and pride and represent the country well during the tournament. “We will be here cheering on for you all and I want to urge you to play with pride, play with passion and make your country proud.” Lara also addressed the players telling them that they possess the ability to perform very well in the tournament. “You all have the ability and from what I have seen, you can perform very well in this tournament. There are players among you who would have played in the IPL and have experience in India conditions, so this is a plus to take with you to India.”
Lara said that one cannot emphasize enough the value of sports tourism. “Sport tourism is one of the biggest boost to the economy of an emerging nation and we are trying to encourage this in Trinidad and Tobago. When you look at England, there are hundreds of thousands of people flying into England to look at the EPL, to look at cricket and also rugby. This does well for the economy and we are trying to do the same here, as we use sport in our diversification drive. Just being in India and using the media and stuff to promote the country, is a big move and we are looking to maximize that.”
Lara’s role with the Red Force is not an official one, well at least not yet. “I have an open door policy and while I am in India, I will be looking to assist Denesh Ramdin and his team, as much as I can. The role is not official but I will be meeting with the board to finalize my role with the boys. Once is red, white and black, you are wearing, it is all about Trinidad and Tobago and I am here to assist in that regard.” President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath said he was very happy with the fact that Lara will be around the team and also promoting T&T in India. “Our batting maestro will be in India and it is great that he will be both promoting the country and assisting our cricketers. The Red Force is an amazing team with a wonderful record and we are looking for great things from them in this tournament. They have been well prepared, they are well focussed and they leave no doubt to do us proud.
“The TTCB has produced a wonderful brand here in brand Red Force and they have shown the world that. They have played 55 officials T20 matches, winning 40, losing 10, four ending in no-results and one tied. In Champions League cricket, they have a winning percentage of 72 and this is the hall mark of a very, very good team. On the back of all of this I would say that they would make their country proud, as well as their sponsors the National Gas Company (NGC) and the Ministry of Tourism. Also on hand was NGC’s Corporate Secretary Antonia Lucky, who under-scored the importance of corporate T&T supporting the team and assist the country by large. “You all look very good wearing the NGC logo and we are looking forward to great things from you. The investment has been made by Corporate T&T and even more should get on board, to assist in making this the best show for our country.” The national team leaves on Monday for India, where they will open their campaign against Brisbane Heat in Ranchi on September 22.
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