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‘Sharks’ heading to J’ca by ‘hook or crook’

Published: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

WALTER ALIBEY

By the hook or the crook. That’s the extent to which Central FC Sharks will be going to ensure participation in  the play-offs in Group Three of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Wednesday to Sunday. Up to yesterday, the club was still short of its financial obligations to fulfill its fixtures but operations manager Kevin Harrison said that plans were well underway for their 6 a.m. flight tomorrow.

All 22 players received vaccines for yellow fever yesterday, one of the requirements which was compulsory before travelling to Jamaica.  

Harrison said they were awaiting responses from companies from whom they requested financial help. Their bill amounted to $35,000, of which $15,000 was a balance for airfare and accommodation while $20,000 was for yellow fever vaccines. Harrison said the cost of the vaccines was reduced to $15,000 courtesy corporate T&T.

Harrison said the ‘Sharks’ will attempt to raise funds to pay airfare when they return. He gave the assurance his team will go to the play-offs but lamented the embarrassment being faced to do so. “By the hook or the crook, we will be going. I cannot tell you how, but I just know we will be going.”
Central FC are the defending champs of the regional tournament following a dominant season last year in which they made a clean sweep in the domestic competitions. 

Monies won are still to be collected, including $1 million for the Digicel Pro League. Harrison said this and a broken promise by the Sport Company of T&T to cover the $130, 000 for airfare and accommodation have put them in a position where they cannot meet their expenses. He told the Guardian the issue is more than football. 

“This will pose tremendous embarrassment to the country, the Caribbean and the world at large, as the club will be representing T&T. Can you imagine how it will look if the regional champions cannot defend their title because of financial problems?”      

The team will attempt to qualify from a three-team group that comprises Scholars International of the Cayman Islands and the host team Montego Bay United FC at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. The Central Sharks will face Scholars on Friday and then Montego Bay United on Sunday. Only the top team will advance. 

The Sharks will attempt to follow local rivals W Connection which hosted ‘Group One’ two weeks ago and finished at the top with maximum nine points. The teams in that group were Club Sportif Moulien (Guadeloupe), Inter Moengo Tapoe (Suriname) and Atletico of the Dominican Republic).