Willis Plaza

OPENED ACCOUNT: Willis Plaza

Willis Plaza opened the scoring for his new club Mohammedan SC with a low shot past the keeper in a 4-1 win over ARA FC last Sunday.

Plaza, now 33, proves he is still a goal scorer, although now playing in the third-tier (I-League 2) in India. He was on spot to knock in a square pass from a central position atop the six-yard box for the opening goal.

Plaza spent the previous two seasons with Churchill Brothers in the I-League. In 2019, he finished joint top-scorer with 21 goals.

Restructuring of Indian club football has seen the Indian Super League installed as the top flight, with the I-League—in which most T&T players worked—now the second flight and I-League 2 as the third-tier.

Plaza remains just one of three Trinidad and Tobago footballers contracted in India for 2020-2021, from a high of nine in 2019-2020. Central defender Radafar Abu Bakr has a year at Churchill Brothers (second tier), while former Churchill Bros players, Plaza and defender Robert Primus (FC Bengaluru United), play in the third-tier.

Complaints about the overuse of “older foreign players” has seen restrictions placed on foreign players each club can use and emphasis placed on clubs hiring young Indian footballers.

Consequently, no longer with Indian clubs are the Kerala trio of defender Andre Ettienne, striker Marcus Joseph and midfielder Nathaniel “Spanish” Garcia.

Neroca has also released goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and defender Taryk Sampson. And another defender Daniel Cyrus is no longer with I-League champions Mohan Bagan, which has formed a partnership with a Super League team.

With former English Premiership manager Owen Coyle and ex-England international Robbie Fowler now managing Indian football clubs, the top flight, the Super League, contains no T&T players, as managers are targeting mainly English, Brazilians and Spanish players to fill their quota.

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