Oliver, right, of Clico San Juan Jabloteh collects the 2007
T&T Pro League Best Midfielder award from
Larry Romany, chairman of the T&T Pro League at the
leagues end of season awards function at Crowne Plaza
Hotel & Resort, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain on April
Photo: Anthony Harris
MARVIN OLIVER firmly believes there can be no individuals
in a team sport like football, but that did not affect his
excellence on the field which earned him the Player of the
Year Trophy at the 2007 T&T Professional Football League
(Pro-League) Awards held on April 3.
The annual awards ceremony was staged at the ballroom of
the Crowne Plaza Hotel located on Wrightson Road in Port-of-Spain,
where Olivers sterling performances resulted in him
driving away with a brand new Toyota Yaris motor car.
Achieving this feat, however, was furthest from the mind
of this talented midfielder when he began the season under
the banner of Neal and Massy Caledonia AIA.
mind was on the team making a good showing, he told
Arena. Its a team sport and we were looking
for team awards. The team must come first.
Oliver laughed as he commented on his feat: It feels
great. Its probably the most expensive award I have
ever won. Im a young Trinidadian who wasnt born
with a gold spoon. I grew up in the ghetto.
Oliver is no stranger to the football spotlight.
In 1993, he was voted the Secondary Schools Footballer of
Year. Back then, he was attached to San Juan Senior Comprehensive.
He went on to secure the Most Valuable Player (MVP) prize
in the Super League.
His skills continued to delight all who witnessed it when
he migrated to the United States of America. Playing under
the T&T flag, Oliver emerged as MVP in the Caribbean
Cup Football Tournament and his reputation won him a place
on this countrys All Star Football team in 1999.
Three years later, he walked away with another MVP title,
this time in the Copa Latina Football Tournament, as well
as the Golden Boot award.
While in the US states of New York and New Jersey, Oliver
continued his trophy haul.
He described meeting Caledonia AIA coach Jamaal Shabazz
as a blessing.
He revealed that Shabazzs words of inspiration caused
him to fuel a new level of self-belief.
showed me the blessings of life and what a man could achieve
within the sport. He is always there to guide me. Hes
a father figure to me, said Oliver.
The 32-year-old midfielder lauded the leadership of AIA
captain Sheldon Emmanuel as well.
is one of the best captains you can find. He had a lot of
trust in me.
Nourished by his faith, Oliver had and continues to overcome
In 2007, Oliver lost many childhood friends to crime and
violence, but believed God AlmightyJah himselfkept
Judging from Olivers utterances, his AIA experience
epitomised that of a well-knit family, but he could not
forget nor deny his Bourg Mulatressse roots.
have to show them that appreciation by being out there,
They have always supported me.
Oliver has decided to return to his childhood club, Clico
San Juan Jabloteh, where he played structured football at
is my home team, he declared. I believe I can
save some of the youths in the area...was it not for football,
I might have been in a life of crime. I did not have too
much opportunities. I can show some of the youths that they
can achieve and they can do more than me. Thats the
main reason for my return to Jabloteh. To me, its a service
to the community, except that Im playing football.
He credits coaches like Bandy and Duma
for guiding youths like Hector Sam and Kurt Williams. Together
with Oliver they all advanced to Jabloteh.
He reflected on the days gone when village cups
featuring teams from Lacano in Santa Cruz, San Juan and
Bourg Mulatresse were staged, and entertainmentnot
moneywas the prize.
He said: People came out and supported the matches.
We had no cable television but we came out to see our own
Gerard Lampards. A whole Village would grow a child. If
my parents werent there somebody else would keep an
eye on me.
Oliver was full of praise for his aunt Maltina Perouse;
his uncle Pusher; Mr Smithy who still tries
to attend all his matches; Mr Witmar a born again Christian
who makes time to minister to youths in the community in
hope that they would choose a life free from crime; and
administrators at the semi-professional club Crab Connection,
who helped keep him afloat when he was sinking.
Oliver fondly remembers admiring former West Indies skipper
and star batsman Brian Charles Lara playing football in
Santa Cruz. Lara was in under 16 division; he was in the
Under 12 class. It was football that introduced Oliver to
West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo in the same community,
to which former Olympic medallist Ato Boldon was a frequent
were rich in sports, Oliver boasted.
Oliver credits the Tyro Sports Club for keeping sports alive
in the community.
Outside of football, Oliver loves cricket.
best position is that of a wicket-keeper. Its a more
active position. You are more involved in the outcome of
the game, he related.
Recognising self worth remains one of the most valuable
lessons Oliver has learnt.
He said: Only you can see how good you are. Coaches
could say whatever they want to hype you, but its your self
belief that makes it happen.
for the game gave me confidence. You do your work and you
respect the game in all aspects.
A former student of Nelson Street Boys RC, Barataria Junior
Secondary and San Juan Senior Comprehensive, Oliver remembers
all his teachers giving him one common command:
to the principals office, he laughed.
was a trouble-maker at school, but not a bad trouble maker.
then, all I really wanted to do was play football.
Oliver is a father of three who prays that his children
grow up happy, love each other and live as a family should.
Jahmali, 6; Jahmekah 3; and Jahzinho, 6 months are the names
of his offspring who he said arent bereft of his love.
want my children to have respect, knowledge and understanding.
Its not about riches, he declared.
Citing all that the San Juan community had given to him,
Oliver wants to help Jabloteh win more Pro-League trophies,
as well as qualify and win the Concacaf Club Tournament
before taking over the world.