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La Horquetta SA partners with NLCB
Anselm Jackson, Kern Robinson, Omeaku Barbour and Taje Commissiong were among the players recognised by La Horquetta Sporting Academy, for their talents and commitment to the academy and community when the recently promoted National Super League outfit celebrated its first ever awards ceremony on Sunday.
Staged as a joint function, La Horquetta SA’s first major sponsor, the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) was publicly announced at the NLCB box, Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain. As announced, La Horquetta SA and the state entity entered a one-year partnership, following which an extention may be negotiated.
The news of such a partnership was greeted with sentiments of relief and excitement for fans and club members, who have followed the team through thick and thin despite its financial struggles. This according to club president, Aaron Greene, a former footballer, who opted to switch his focus to coaching and administration.
Greene said that although the club has been seeking a major sponsor for over a year, NLCB’s assistance could not have come at a better time as the club recently entered its challenge of its inaugural National Super League campaign. La Horquetta SA, which qualified for the country’s second tier league football competition by virtue of a nearly flawless campaign at the Champions of Champions round-robin tournament, lost its opening match 3-2 against 2012 champion WASA FC last Wednesday but rebounded with a 2-1 win over Real Maracas, on Sunday.
Incredibly, La Horquetta qualified for the Super League after only two years in the EFA’s Premier Division with little and sometimes no funding. However, Greene heaped praise for “persons on the ground” who helped the team in whatever way they could. Sergeant Haywood, who is attached to the North Eastern Division Task Force, the club’s special advisor Falon Thomas and R&P Transport and Maintenance were noted by Greene as those who gave from their personal time and assets to help the club in whatever way they could.
The academy was officially formed as a sporting academy in 2011 under the advice of Member of Parliament for La Horquetta/Talparo, Jairam Seemungal. It then entered the Eastern Football Association’s First Division and qualified for the Premier Division that same season. A year later, the club finished second to current Super League club Malabar FC, before it won practically all there was to win the following year. Its successes last season included the EFA Premier Division, President’s Cup, League Cup and the FA Cup.
Greene said what makes La Horquetta’s story inspiring is the fact that the club managed to gain success without the help of corporate sponsorship and now as it is the Super League, anything is possible when it comes to the club’s future.
Now, the club can contest the Super League with its new sponsor, NLCB, having agreed to foot the cost of the $50,000 registration fee, which removes a heavy burden on the academy.
Also part of the agreement is a monthly allowance provided by NLCB, which according to Greene, will assist in travelling, equipment and other miscellaneous expenses. The club too will benefit from the use of a regular ground for home matches-the University of T&T’s (UTT) ground in O’Meara.
For this, Greene offered a heap of praise to NLCB as well as UTT for recognising the club’s serious approach to both football and the fight against the stigma attached to La Horquetta.
Greene also thanked Minister Seemungal who successfully approached and negotiated La Horquetta’s cause with NLCB. Seemungal, who addressed the audience on Sunday, said his task of dealing with NLCB was made easier given the numerous success stories of such a young club.
“Listen, this team have performed and outperformed any other new club to form in any part of T&T,” said Seemungal who expressed pride in his part in forming the club. “It does not matter where we come from, once we put our minds together, once we put our hearts together, once we put ourselves in that position, we can, in fact, perform and we can outshine everybody else. “Gentlemen, this sporting academy that you all are in, it is really one in which your parents would be proud of, your village would be proud of, your constituency is very, very proud of. Your children will be very proud of you one day. “I was looking at some of the persons who come out of La Horquetta, many of them, I’m not even sure if they visit any more to actually share their talents and that is something I am sure this team will continue to do. That is stay in La Horquetta and come back to La Horquetta and share and pass on some of the talents you all would have shared today,” Seemungal added. He noted T&T sprinters Darrel Brown and Keenan Gibson as well as former national footballers Gary Glasgow and Dale Saunders as some role models who have beaten the stigma attached to the community in their quest for success.
As part of its growth and functionalism, La Horquetta recently formed its executive. Led by Greene, the members include, Thomas (special advisor), Kevon de Matas (vice president), Krystle Alexander (secretary), Tricia Forde (treasurer), Jude John (technical director), Errol Jointe (manager), Brendan George (team administrator), Andrea Preito (PRO), Oba Pery (youth administrator), Dion Mulzac (director), Dennison Francis (director).
Meanwhile, Greene said he was confident of La Horquetta’s positive impact on the community and said the club was destined for further success as his team also boasted role models, who have already shown the ability to guide children in the community away from delinquency. He said also that the club has begun to attract the interest of players from surrounding communities in the East as well as several former national and high profile Pro League players, who he said are fascinated by the spirit and drive of La Horquetta SA.
La Horquetta SA’s Super League campaign will continue on Sunday when the club hosts Bethel United, in O’Meara, from 3.30 pm.
Honor Roll (2012, 2013)
Best goalkeepers—Keron Jones (2012), Sean Marshall
Best defender—Kevin Mulzac
Best midfielders—Dennison Francis (2012), Kern Robinson
Best forwards—Omeaku Barbour (2012), Taje Commissiong (2013)
MVPs—Kern Robinson (2012), Anselm Jackson (2013)
Most disciplined players—Keston Jones (2012), Kevon de Matas (2013)
Most committed players—Wesley Elcock (2012), Dion Thomas (2013)
Most goals—Omeaku Barbour (2012), Keron Clarke (2013)