Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 20th 2015 Contents SBG4 COVER STORY
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 20 • 2015
The Ma Pau Morvant Sports
Club, almost certainly, will not
participate in the 2015/16 Pro
League competition, after an
about-turn by the Ministry of
Sport left the organisation
without its registration fee.
And, it is possible that the Ma Pau outfit---
which participated in the Pro League between
2008 and 2011---may not have another shot
at entrance in the local top flight until 2018.
There is nothing unusual about a local foot-
ball club attempting and failing to secure
admittance in the Pro League. It happens
almost every season. But it is not every year
that a Pro League application leads to a pas-
sive-aggressive media battle between the Sport
Minister and a football coach, suggestions of
a proactive Permanent Secretary, a police
investigation for fraud and a frustrated com-
The most appealing aspect of Ma Pau s pro-
posed return to the Pro League is a promised
$8.5 million refurbishment of a sport ground
in Morvant, which the club will share with
fellow top flight neighbours, Caledonia AIA
and the community.
And former Laventille East/Morvant MP
Donna Cox had hoped her last act as the area s
parliamentary representative would have been
to announce the massive infrastructural work
on the sporting ground in the community,
which lies on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain.
Cox said that, over the last five years, she
had filed questions in Parliament and written
the Ministry of Sport, the Ministry of Edu-
cation and the Ministry of Planning for help
to fix the uneven ground, which is unbearably
dusty one minute and flooded the next.
"It just needed refurbishing and some work
done," Cox said. "A lot of people use it because
they don t have a proper alternative but there
is a lot of flooding and it is uneven and so
"We talk about crime but, if we are really
serious about crime, this is one of the areas
that is at risk. But no work has been done in
Laventille East/Morvant by the Ministry of
Sport. No netball or basketball court, noth-
"Malick Senior Comprehensive has to go
outside its community to train because there
is no proper ground here for them... And I
also made a plug for it to be the home ground
for Caledonia AIA."
Cox claimed she got nowhere with her pleas
for state resources to fix the community
In August, former Central FC coach Terry
Fenwick, who was promised the job of Ma
Pau head coach position if the club returned
to the Pro League and was steering their bid
for re-entry, approached Cox with a promise
to completely renovate the ground and she
jumped at the offer. But there was one caveat.
Ma Pau wanted the Ministry of Sport to sup-
port its bid to return to the Pro League.
"If the Ministry of Sport is not doing what
it is supposed to do and a private company
wants to come in and assist, then of course
I support it," said Cox. "I feel they should be
allowed to get the job done. Why is it being
"Why didn t the Ministry decide to partner
with them and get it done?"
The catch was that Ma Pau wanted the
Ministry of Sport to foot the bill for its Pro
League return, which meant a $400,000 pay-
ment. The Ma Pau application, though, asked
the Government for $450,000.
But why did Ma Pau, after promising to
spend just over $3 million on a football ground
before the end of year, not simply pay the Pro
League s comparatively paltry registration fee
in the first place?
The Pro League gave Ma Pau chairman John
Wallis an assurance that, should he choose to
return to the competition, he would not have
to pay a registration fee for a second time.
But Wallis was not aware---or properly advised
by his own staff---that this amnesty carried a
deadline. And the club missed it two years
When Wallis and Fenwick sat down in June
to discuss Ma Pau s return to top flight football,
there were, according to the coach, two con-
ditions: the club must have a home ground---
Wallis was frustrated by Ma Pau being asked
to play home games all over the country during
his previous Pro League stint---and he would
not pay to regain his club s Pro League sta-
From mid-June, Fenwick went into overdrive,
as he met and wooed counsellors and regional
corporation representatives with Ma Pau s
vision for the Morvant ground.
Inevitably, Fenwick ended up at the Ministry
of Sport and in front of his former employer
and former Sport Minister, Brent Sancho.
Almost a decade earlier, Fenwick sacked
Sancho at San Juan Jabloteh after he grew
frustrated with the World Cup 2006 defender s
fondness for night life. But they worked togeth-
er twice at Central and, earlier this year, the
English coach was at the helm when the
"Couva Sharks" lifted the Caribbean Club
Championship, Digicel Pro League and Pro
Sancho was already Sport Minister when
Fenwick returned to the Sharks and the UNC
Senator claimed he had nothing to do with
it. But an email between Fenwick, Sancho and
his adviser Kevin Harrison suggested other-
At 8.30 am on Monday March 23, 2015,
Fenwick asked Harrison, via email, to round
his salary off at $30,000 per month and con-
firm his bonus for title success with the Sharks.
But Sancho was the person who replied.
"We never agreed to rounding off to 30,"
stated Sancho, from his Hotmail email address.
"It s 28 and 10 per cent. Please (do) not com-
plicate this as time is of the essence."
On March 24, Central confirmed that Fen-
wick would replace Serbian Zoran Vranes as
head coach. Harrison claimed then that he
made the decision and not Sancho.
Although Central won every available title
under Fenwick, the relationship between the
trio quickly soured.
At 10.52 am on June 25 2015, Fenwick wrote
a 515-word email to Sancho, Harrison and
Central director Daren Mohamdally, in which
the former England World Cup player ranted
at the club s supposed mismanagement and
warned that the Sharks faced a thrashing from
MLS club, LA Galaxy, at the Concacaf Cham-
"Maybe, in my moment of weakness, I
expected CFC (Central FC) to recognise the
huge opportunity we have been presented to
provide T&T football with a much needed
positive shot in the arm from the visit of LA
Galaxy to Trinidad," stated Fenwick, as he
raged about the club s failure to sort out players
contracts and preseason plans.
"It is unethical to have potential employees
waiting on management and the board to have
an epiphany regarding renewal of contracts!
Do you have any regard for people s lives and
families noting that they all have responsibilities
to their loved ones!
"I find it not only unprofessional but disin-
genuous to run your club with people/players
welfare at your disposal and not communicate
with them. For me and my players, it is demor-
alising and quite startling how individuals of
self-proclaimed pillars of society treat with
such disregard their own work force."
Exactly 31 minutes later, Central manager
Jamie Aleong-Charles emailed Fenwick with
The board and management of Central FC
met to discuss your proposed contractual
requirement. Unfortunately, at this time, they
will not be able to facilitate your request.
"As such, they wish to sincerely thank you
for your services rendered to the club."
Regardless, Fenwick took coach Keon Trim
along to explain to Sancho and Harrison---in
their official capacities at the Ministry of
Sport---why the Government should support
Ma Pau s bid to enter the Pro League.
There had been a precedent as, just last
year, the Government paid registration fees
for Point Fortin Civic. But Sancho, despite his
football background, did not support Ma Pau s
Why Ma Pau was left out
Continued on Page 5
Links Archive September 19th 2015 September 21st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page