Invaders cry for help - Club begs for support to return to premier league
The Invaders Football Club, the pride and joy of the Bunkers Hill community in Trelawny, is facing a major challenge going into the Trelawny Football Association (TFA) Knockout and Major League competitions as their training facility is in a state of disrepair.
The 42-year-old football club, which once campaigned in the National Premier League, is now harbouring dreams of returning to those lofty heights. However, its executives fear that without the assistance of the national sporting bodies and corporate Jamaica, the dream will remain elusive.
"We have not started training as yet because the field is not in a state to facilitate training," said Dale Walker, the president of Invaders FC.
"The keys [for the community centre and playing field] have been handed over to me, but it is costing me out of my pocket to maintain both the field and community centre."
According to Walker, the playing field is in need of a comprehensive upgrade, to include proper lighting and spectator stands. When the WESTERN STAR visited the facility last week, the grass on the field was overgrown.
"The centre and field need some revamp because this is a burden on me to keep it up. I have to find the money out of my pocket if the club is not in a position to do the maintenance," bemoaned Walker. "The knockout competition will be starting on November 18, and while I don't know if we will be having a match on that day, if our field is not ready, then we will have to try and use another field nearby.
"We need some sponsors to come in and help, and the sporting authorities also need to help. Things have to improve for Invaders FC to rise again," added Walker.
Walker, who has been the president of the Invaders FC for the past 25 years, said he plans to turn the location into a multipurpose sports complex. He said the community has a strong sporting tradition, churning out individuals such as national representatives Warren Weir, Audrey Reid and Rosemarie Whyte.
"It is difficult to get financing and that is one of the reasons that caused us to be dropped out of the Premier League nearly two decades ago," said Walker. "To get back to where we were, we need a properly maintained facility, control of the underutilised community centre, and significant financial support."