Ganga gets all clear to play for T&T
Trinidad and Tobago's captain Daren Ganga has been given the green light to play in next month's Champions League in India after an initial threat that he may have been denied time-off by his employers.
National energy minister Conrad Enill was contacted by football guru Jack Warner on the issue and Ganga is now set to play in the October 8-23 tournament, which brings together the world's top Twenty20 club teams.
Member of Parliament Warner had described as disgraceful, a decision by Petrotrin to refuse time off for Ganga to take part in the tournament.
Warner, a vice-president of football's world governing body FIFA, said after hearing of Ganga's plight, he was both angry and disappointed.
"I still can't believe in this day and age, people are still being refused time off to represent our country, particularly by a state-owned company. Petrotrin should be ashamed."
Warner said he felt compelled to intervene after learning of Ganga's plight.
"I tried to get in contact with the sports minister but he was busy so I called the line minister and he responded immediately," said Warner.
"Petrotrin's decision and refusal to give time off to Ganga, a national player who has served the country with distinction for such a long time, is one of the most disgraceful, unpatriotic acts this country has ever seen and it is to Minister Enill's credit he responded the way he did," Warner declared.
Ganga, who is a community relations officer with the company, wrote to the T&T Cricket Board, WIPA and the WICB outlining his predicament after his request was refused by Petrotrin.
In a letter dated September 17, signed by Arnold Corneal, Petrotrin's corporate communications manager, the long-serving captain was told he had already received well over the allotted time for persons on national duty.
"Our records have shown you have received a total of 37 working days to go on national duties for 2009. As communicated to you prior to May 21, 2008, November 20, 2008 and January 5, 2009, leave for national service shall be granted up to a maximum of one month per annum with pay for the duration of such representation," the letter stated.
Warner said he wanted to know if Ganga was being victimised since he had information the former West Indies player was forced to use his annual vacation and sick leave to represent the country.
"Imagine that. Using your annual leave and sick leave to go on national duty, this is absolutely ridiculous."