North East Stars head coach Angus Eve is bracing for a backlash on the heels of his team’s 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA last Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, to start the 2012/2013 Digicel T&T Pro League season. Second-half goals by off-season signings Cornell Glen and Kerry Baptiste and substitute Kaydion Gabriel handed the Sangre Grande club full points to enjoy pole position after round one. “It’s always good to win,” said Eve following his head coach debut in the TT Pro League, “…but we are not naive to know that it’s just the first game and it takes 21 games to win the League.” The former San Juan Jabloteh and Ma Pau SC assistant coach added, “We just chalked it up to having a good start.”
However, it wasn’t just a win or a good start. It was a win against the winner of last season’s First Citizens Cup, FA Trophy, Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, Caledonia AIA, which is currently participating in the Concacaf Champions League group stage. Eve continued, “It’s a good feeling. Jamaal Shabazz is someone I look up too and all that he has been doing at Caledonia over the years. And also what they have achieved last season and now playing in the CONCACAF Champions League. “It added a bit of gloss (to the victory) knowing that Caledonia have already played a few games this season and we were in our first.” But on the flipside, the former T&T international and Olympic team coach, said: “We just set a trap for ourselves because other teams will now be coming differently at us.”
Internally, Eve said it’s his job to keep the North East Stars players’ feet on the ground and not become self-absorbed by Friday’s win. He added, “The good thing is that I have a big squad, so if anyone becomes complacent, I’d have someone to do the job.” This weekend North East Stars, second-positioned Police FC, third-positioned Defence Force, W Connection, Central FC, St Ann’s Rangers, T&TEC FC and Caledonia will turn all eyes on the First Citizens Cup quarter-final round which will be drawn today at Queen’s Park Oval, First Citizens Corporate Box, Elizabeth Street from 1 pm. The knockout tournament will run for three weeks with the quarter-final round on September 21, the semifinal round on September 28 and the final on October 5.