Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Densill Theobald has signed an eight-month contract with Indian Professional League football club Dempo SC in the I-League.
Theobald agreed to the deal last week and arrived at the club on Satruday. He became the second player to sign a contract to play in India after Cyd Gray joined Pune FC in 2008.
Theobald, who played in all of T&T’s 2006 World Cup matches in Germany, captained the T&T team in its 3-0 win over India last month at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. He caught the eyes of India head coach Armando Colaco who is the general secretary of Dempo. The club subsequently offered him a lucrative offer.
“It’s a new step for me and a new direction in my career,” Theobald said.
‘I’m at a stage in my career where I have to make decisions that suits me and I think this is a wonderful opportunity to experience a different culture and to enter a different chapter as a footballer. India is a massive country and while they may be cricket fanatics, I also realize that they are crazy about football and the authorities there are working round the clock to take football to a higher level,” Theobald said.
Dempo SC sports club based in Panjim, Goa and have been described as one of India’s most prominent football teams. Current Indian captain Climax Lawrence is a member of their team as well as Mahesh Gawli who both lined up against T&T.
Dempo made Indian Football history when they were one of the first teams to participate in the newly formed I-League. They soon managed to make more history after winning the first ever I-League season in 2007-08. Due to their success in the I-League Dempo participated in the 2008 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup where they shocked people by making the Semi-Finals after defeating Singapore side Home United FC 4-3 in the quarter-finals. They also qualified for the 2011 AFC Champions League in 2011 as well as the AFC Champions Cup.
“Regarding my international career, I think if I do well enough out there and the national team needs me then I will be always be willing to serve once I get the call. Part of the contract also ensures that the club will release me without any issues for international duty. At age 29, I could have maybe four to five years in professional football and I would want to maximize the opportunities that are presented to me at this stage of my career. I also see this as an opportunity for me to hopefully open doors for fellow teammates from my country to play in the I-League.
“Caledonia AIA is a club that I have supported and represented for many seasons and it remains close to my heart and I want to wish them the best for the remainder of this season and beyond,” Theobald stated.
“I also want to thank friends Brian Lara and Dwayne Bravo for their advice on the conditions and culture in India as well as my manager Sheldon Theobald and Rangy Nanan who acted on behalf of Dempo SC,” Theobald added.
The former Malick Senior Comprehensive player has played for Toronto Olympians in Canada as well as Scottish club Falkirk (2005/2006) and Hungarian club UJpest FC in 2007. The ex-Joe Public player has made 78 international appearances for T&T.