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Yohance, De Silva and Julius among founders of youth mentoring group, Can Bou Play Foundation

“The inspiration behind the name comes from the Canboulay festival which was the precursor to carnival and our music,” said former Trinidad and Tobago international footballer Sean De Silva. “[…] We decided that there is no better time than the present to give back to our country where we truly need to use sport and education to nurture young men and women into the successful citizens that our country needs to get back on track.”

The following release was submitted to Wired868 by the Can Bou Play Foundation, which is run by a host of former Trinidad and Tobago international players and aims to mentor local youth:

Photo: Can Bou Play Foundation (CBPL) members (from left) Jared Bennett, Sean de Silva, Yohance Marshall, Keston George, Akim Armstong, Amiel Mohammed and Elton John at their launch on Monday 28 May at the St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre in Diego Martin.
(Missing is Julius James).

The Can Bou Play Foundation (CBPL) was officially launched on Monday 28 May at the St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre in Diego Martin by a host of names familiar to local football fans. Yohance Marshall, Sean de Silva, Jared Bennett, Akim Armstong, Elton John, Keston George, Julius James and Amiel Mohammed have stepped forward to pilot this new project.

In his address, Marshall, who scored Trinidad and Tobago’s famous last-minute equaliser in the 4-4 draw with Mexico in the 2015 Gold Cup, touched on the genesis of the Foundation.

“When the Pro League season ended, we didn’t really know what was going to happen,” said Marshall. “A couple of the guys were there and we wanted to at least keep fit. So we started training together and more and more guys joined.

“Then being together with like-minded individuals, we started to think about our options and how we could now give back and be a support system. That movement evolved really quickly and Can Bou Play was formed.”

Can Bou Play Foundation will seek to host, mentor and organise education tours for children at a minimum of 30 schools, children’s homes and football academies across T&T in 2018. It will also pioneer education programmes using sport as a catalyst as well as produce a video series outlining the highs and lows of local footballers.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago international footballer Yohance Marshall speaks at the Can Bou Play launch on Monday 28 May at the St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre in Diego Martin.
(Copyright Can Bou Play)

Also touched on at the launch was the need for the Foundation to be run as a corporate entity with sustainability at its forefront.

1ndividual Aesthetic has already come on board as the official merchandise partner while the group already boasts a few international partnerships

A few weeks ago, Can Bou Play partnered with US-based charity, Around the World’s Inc, to distribute over 150 match jerseys and more than 40 balls to children’s homes and organisations across T&T.

Centro Deportivo Canning, an affiliate of Argentina’s Club Atlético Banfield, has also declared its formal support for CBPL’s long-term initiatives.

Former Trinidad and Tobago two-time World Youth Cup midfielder and fellow founder, Sean de Silva, echoed his colleague’s sentiments and the need for there to be a positive change in the local football and sports landscape.

“The inspiration behind the name comes from the Canboulay festival which was the precursor to carnival and our music,” said De Silva. “It was a symbol of freedom and, more importantly, of freedom of expression. It was a major step and we, the founders, found similarities with what we are trying to do with our movement.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Sean De Silva (right) beats Barbados goalkeeper Dario Weir (centre) and a retreating defender but not the upright during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 March 2017.
Trinidad and Tobago won 2-0.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“We decided that there is no better time than the present to give back to our country where we truly need to use sport and education to nurture young men and women into the successful citizens that our country needs to get back on track.”

The founders of this ambitious organisation have also committed their playing futures to various clubs for the 2018 season.

Marshall, John and George have left 2017 TT Pro League title winners North East Stars to join De Silva, a former Central FC standout, at Queen’s Park Cricket Club in the TT Super League—as part of a partnership between QPCC and CBPL.

Former National Beach Soccer player Jared Bennett will suit up for his hometown club of Point Fortin Civic FC and Akim Armstrong is aiming for a productive first season with Central.

Julius James has signed for FC Motown in the NPSL (USA).

Editor’s Note: Individuals and organisations interested in learning more about or partnering with the Can Bou Play Foundation may contact our social media pages @canbouplay or canbouplayfoundation@gmail.com.

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