WITH a mix of veteran footballers, young prospects and those in between, Guaya United is as prepared as can be to defend its league crown as the 2018 National Super League (NSL) kicks off today.
Four matches are carded this evening, while the three other matches in Round One, including Guaya United’s opener, will be played tomorrow.
Guaya opens its campaign away to newly-promoted Diego Martin/Petit Valley United at St Anthony’s College Ground, Westmoorings, from 4 pm.
The Guayaguayare-based team will be lead by former India-based defender and T&T international Glenton Wolfe, as captain, and last season’s leading scorer with 30 goals – Carlon Hughes.
Former coach Jameson Rigues relinquished his post and is now first vice president of the NSL, letting way for new coach Calvin Hughes. Guaya is a two-time league winner (2014, 2017) and also defending knockout champion.
It is among the more fortunate NSL clubs as it has both a large community following and considerable support from its financial director Randy Hagley, CEO of sponsor, Z.O.R. Services Ltd. As incentive for its players, some are offered stipends, while others are offered part-time jobs within in the oil and gas production sector in return for their services to the team.
Speaking ahead of the league opener, Hagley said he considers the team stronger than that of last year. “Management expects greater success this campaign. We will consider it stronger than last year,” Hagley said.
He said, more than anything, the supporters and the team’s drive are what led them to the double last season and at the rate the club is moving, Hagley said Guaya can eventually join the professionals.
Hagley said through the duration of the season, Guaya will honour one of its top supporters who recently died.
“We also want to have a minute of silence for one of our die hard supporter, Bob, who has since passed away on all our first set of round one games, and all our home games this season.”