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Zoff calls on Sancho to pay promised prize monies

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Popular community sports administrator Roger “Zoff” Celestine, right, and former Sports Minister Brent Sancho at the closing coremony for a football and cricket tournament which was sponsored by the Ministry of Sport.


Popular community sports administrator Roger “Zoff” Celestine is calling on former Minister of Sports Brent Sancho to honour a commitment to pay prize monies amounting to $70,000 for an all fours tournament held to boost his campaign for last year’s general elections. 

Zoff who will celebrate 37 years as an organiser of sports and cultural events in the San Juan area tomorrow, said he was approached by the ex-T&T defender to put on cricket, football and all fours events in the name of the People’s Partnership Government last year. All three events carried a whopping $201,000 budget which were to be shared as prize monies. 

He complied to a request by Sancho to submit proposals for a $50,000 football competition that comprised an open division, 40 and over play-off, an $81,000 cricket tourney that featured a 45 and over, men’s open and women’s league and an all fours competition for $70, 000. 

He told the Guardian he has now found himself facing threats of lawsuits, while other teams and players are promising to expose him on the popular Ian Alleyne or Beyond the Tape programmes as Sancho no longer takes his calls or responds to his text messages. 

The veteran administrator said he was told by Sancho that all his money was used during his campaign last year and he could not provide the additional funding to pay. From this amount, Zoff was not paid for the months of work he did in putting the tournaments together and ensuring it ran smoothly and successfully. 

“During the tournaments I cooked food and had drinks organised but more so, was able to put on a number of successful competitions which carried the name The People’s Partnership Constituency League and impressed the then sports minister,” Zoff said. 

His workload included putting up huge banners of the People’s Partnership contribution to community sports that also made him look good. Sancho has sinced paid the tag for the football ($50,000) tournament and was asked to give part payment for the cricket play-offs, which was drastically reduced due to the help of corporate citizens British Gas T&T, Neil Gosein and others where significant contributions came. 

Through corporate T&T, Zoff was also able to distribute trophies and medals and accumulate other operating expenses such as tents and equipment etc. Sancho’s reluctance to pay the prize monies has left Zoff severely stressed as he collapsed during the final of the all fours tourney, citing concerns by players for monies owed to them, which the veteran administrator did not have. 

“For the first time in my life I have had to be avoiding people and giving them promises for monies that were not forthcoming from Sancho. And on the night of the finals of the all fours, I took it on so much that I passed out and had to be carried home by friends and supporters of teams,” Zoff said.    

When contacted yesterday, Sancho said he would have call back to give a response, but never did and further calls to his cellphone went unanswered.