DirecTV W Connection will kick off its bid for a fourth Caribbean Football Union Club Championship crown when it faces Guyana Defence Force in the future match of a Group Two double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 8 pm tonight.
This after SAP FC of Antigua & Barbuda comes up against Jamaica's Waterhouse from 5.30 pm in the day's opener at the same venue.
Winners on three previous ocassions from seven trips to the final, W Connection last competed in the CFU Club competition in 2013 and is currently in the end stages of trying to retain its Digicel T&T Pro League cronw as it trails fellow CFU Club Championship competitors, Central FC by six points with two and three matches to play for each club.
However, from today until Sunday, St Lucian-born W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier and his 18-man squad will have one lone aim, which is to top its round-robin group to advance to the April 22 semifinals.
Speaking on the eve on the tournament, Charles-Fevrier said he was very satisfied in terms of the eligibility of the squad.
He added: "We have a really good squad based on the players we have to choose from and we expect all the teams will showcase a good level of football, hence we cannot underestimate the other teams because they are ambitious of qualifying for the Champions League also."
The longstanding W Connection coach stated, "Football now, isnt like my playing days when T&T played against other Caribbean nations. Back then you didn't have to show up because you knew T&T was going to win.
"But football has changed a lot since then. People are more educated in football now. The coaching and development that's going on in the other islands have improved. Even the quality of football that everyone watches on television is at a very high quality. The whole self esteem and confidence are on a higher level now across the Caribbean, with players realising the opportunities they have to play abroad.
"On the skill level, T&T players are still better but that doesn't guarantee us a win. We still have to play at our best. But I am confident in our ability and in that regard we intend to win the group."
Included in the W Connection squad are recent T&T senior team call-ups, Akeem Garcia, Shannon Gomez, Maurice Ford, national defenders Mekeil Williams and Alvin Jones, as well as Jomol Williams, Jerrel Britto and former Finland-based Shannon Winchester.
While not much is known of SAP FC and Guyana Defence Force, Waterhouse arrived in T&T yesterday with a strong squad led by club captain and goalkeeper Richard Mc Callum.
And speaking in the Jamaica Observer earlier this week Mc Callum said he was looking forward to another positive showing from his team.
It is the second year in succession that Waterhouse is competing in the competition after last season's successful run saw them progressing to the Concacaf Club Championship, where they performed creditably before being eliminated.
"Last year, for the CFU Club Championship, we went into the tournament very focused, well prepared with an intention to do well and this year, we are going in just as focused, but the level of [financial] support we had last year is missing this year. Nonetheless, our intention is to do just as good as we did last year, and hopefully we can take it much further," he said.
Leading the Waterhouse attack is Jamaican international striker, Jermaine "Tuffy" Anderson,
Meanwhile Central FC, last season's Pro League runner-up left for Guyana yesterday, where it will makes its tournament bow in Group One against host, Alpha United, the Guyana champions and Suriname's Inter Moengotapoe, which has won its league title, six of the last eight seasons. Haiti will host Group Three and Four of this season's Caribbean Club Championship.
W Connection squad
Akeem Garcia, Shannon Gomez, Maurice Ford, Julani Archibald, Aquelius Sylvester, Mekeil Williams, Kurt Frederick, Triston Hodge, Christian Viveros, Alvin Jones, Gerard Williams, Christian Rodriguez, Yhon Stiven Reyes Lopez, Hashim Arcia, Jomol Williams, Jerrel Britto, Shannon Winchester, Neil Benjamin Jr
Group One (Guyana):
Venue: Guyana National Stadium, Providence
Alpha United (GUY) vs Inter Moengotapoe (SUR), 4 pm
Inter Moengotapoe (SUR) vs Central FC (T&T), 4 pm
Alpha United (GUY) vs Central FC (T&T), 4 pm
Group Two (T&T):
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
SAP FC (ATG) vs Waterhouse FC (JAM), 5.30 pm
W Connection (T&T) vs Guyana Defence Force (GUY), 8 pm
Waterhouse FC (JAM) vs Guyana Defence Force (GUY), 5.30 pm
W Connection (T&T) vs SAP FC (ATG), 8 pm
Guyana Defence Force (GUY) vs SAP FC (ATG), 5.30 pm
W Connection (T&T) vs Waterhouse FC (JAM), 8 pm
Group Three (Haiti):
Venue: Complexe Sportif des Cayes (Les Cayes)
Montego Bay United (JAM) vs Club Sportif Moulien (GLP), 3.30 pm
America FC (HAI) vs SV Excelsior (SUR), 6 pm
Club Sportif Moulien (GLP) vs SV Excelsior (SUR), 3.30 pm
America FC (HAI) vs Montego Bay United (JAM), 6 pm
SV Excelsior (SUR) vs Montego Bay United (JAM), 3.30 pm
America FC (HAI) vs Club Sportif Moulien (GLP), 6 pm
Group Four (Haiti):
Venue: Stade Sylvio Cator, Port-au-Prince
Helenites Sporting Club (VIR) vs Unite Sainte Rose (GLP), 4 pm
Don Bosco FC (HAI) vs Lyford Cay FC (BAH), 6.30 pm
Unite Sainte Rose (GLP) vs Lyford Cay FC (BAH), 4 pm
Don Bosco FC (HAI) vs Helenites Sporting Club (VIR), 6.30 pm
Lyford Cay FC (BAH) vs Helenites Sporting Club (VIR), 4 pm
Don Bosco FC (HAI) vs Unite Sainte Rose (GLP), 6.30 pm
Winner Group One vs Winner Group Two
Winner Group Three vs Winner Group Four
Finals and 3rd place matches: