New Zouks owner targets CPL success
LONDON (CMC): UNITED STATES-BASED real estate businessman Jignesh ‘Jay’ Pandya has bought the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise St Lucia Zouks, tournament principals announced recently.
Pandya is the founder of the Rohan Group of companies and also serves as chairman of Global Sports Ventures, LLC, and Royal Sports Club, LLC.
Damien O’Donohoe, chief executive of the CPL, said the partnership was the result of extended discussions with Pandya’s representatives.
“Discussions have been ongoing with Mr Pandya, and his representatives for many months and they have a clear vision for the Zouks to elevate them even higher for the seasons to come in terms of recruitment and in building all aspects of the franchise, from root to branch,” O’Donohoe said.
“Their passion for the Hero CPL is obvious, with their values being closely aligned to our own to strive to be an innovative market leader, and I have no doubt that these are exciting times to be a Zouks fan.”
Zouks is one of six franchises that comprise the four-year-old CPL, branded by organisers as the ‘biggest party in sport’.
Reigning champions Jamaica Tallawahs, Barbados Tridents, Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, Guyana Amazon Warriors, and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are the other five franchises involved in the Twenty20 venture.
Zouks, however, have been one of the worse-performing sides in the tournament, but Pandya said he hoped his investment would turn around the franchise’s fortunes.
“Our aim is to help drive the Zouks forward to become the dominant team in the CPL by producing consistent results that will enable us to be title contenders in every edition of CPL going forward,” the Philadelphia businessman said.
He added: “We are extremely happy that the management team, with Stuart Williams as our head coach and Darren Sammy as our captain, have committed to remain with the franchise and will continue to lead it.
Darren is a passionate St Lucian who leads the side with great skill and charisma and is hugely respected internationally, especially after guiding the West Indies to their second ICC World T20 title in India earlier this year.
“Our executive directors are working closely with both Stuart and Darren in terms of player recruitment, the goal being to become champions of the CPL after missing out last year in the play-offs.”
Zouks enjoyed their best-ever season in this year’s campaign when they finished third following the preliminaries before being knocked out in the play-offs. In this 2016 Caribbean Premier League photo, Zouks players Gidron Pope (left), Shane Watson (centre), and Delorn Johnson celebrate the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara during a match against the Jamaica Tallawahs at Central Broward Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida, United States of America.