Five weeks into the Digicel T&T Pro League season, defending champion and four-time winner DirecTV W Connection will finally kick off its title defence in the feature match of a double-header against Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, from 8 pm tonight.
Two hours earlier, newcomers Central FC also debuts against Police, which stunned last year’s runner-up, T&TEC, 2-0 in its season opener on September 15.
While all other clubs have played at least one league match, W Connection had its opener against Central FC postponed due to its involvement in both the Concacaf Champions League and the First Citizens Cup.
However, with those matches out of the way, coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier and his “Savonetta Boys” can focus on their league campaign.
Charles-Fevrier said yesterday that the members of his team were looking forward to a positive start. “Obviously we want to have a good start, we are the defending champions.”
Charles-Fevrier noted that tonight’s opponents play a similar style of football to his team and fans could expect interesting contest.
Charles-Fevrier is still uncertain about the availability of some of his players, due to their late return from national duty with the Soca Warriors in St Kitts/Nevis for the Caribbean Football Union Cup first round Group Five qualifiers.
The qualifiers ended Sunday. However, due to Tropical Storm Rafael, several players remained stranded in St Kitts.
Unfortunately for W Connection, first team regulars, Joevin Jones, Clyde Leon and Daneil Cyrus arrived only last night and remain doubtful, while goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams is due tonight.
Caledonia, on the other hand, which defeated W Connection twice so far this season, 4-3 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the CFU Club Championship final and 1-0 in the First Citizens Cup semifinal, will only be without midfielder Densil Theobald, who like Williams, is due home late tonight.
The lawmen will be at full strength against Central FC. The Richard Hood-coached Police team are second on the table, tied with leaders North East Stars, and third positioned Defence Force all with three points separated by goals difference.
Hood said he is concentrating on a positive result. “We are not thinking of the top right now. We are just excited to get back on the field of play. We have been working hard for the past four weeks and the guys are really excited.”
Central FC will be boosted by the return of national goalkeeper Marvin Phillip who was one of seven players to return on Monday night.
The Sharks’ managing director Brent Sancho wants a large turnout of after-work supporters in Point Lisas. “We’re hoping that supporters from Chaguanas, Couva and the whole Central region will be there to witness our first league match,” said the former national defender.
Central FC is keen to take three points after the long awaited Pro League debut.
“It’s given us extra time to prepare,” said Central’s coach, Englishman Graham Rix. “But, we just want to start playing. I am so pleased with my players. I have every confidence that we can take all three points,” Rix ended.
Venue: Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
Central vs Police, 6 pm
W Connection vs Caledonia, 8 pm
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo
Rangers vs T&TEC, 5 pm
Defence Force vs North East Stars, 7 pm