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Caledonia welcomes new challenges
The 2012-13 FA Trophy may have only just been completed, but already for back-to-back champions Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA, the bar has been lifted for next season’s tournament.
Speaking after his team’s 2–0 win over Central FC in the final played at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Friday night, Caledonia coach Jerry Moe said, “It’s definitely an honour to win such an illustrious title in consecutive seasons and in hindsight join the few clubs that have done it. But it now gives us the impetus to try and win in three times in a row.”
The Morvant/Laventille club joined the short list of consecutive FA Trophy winners—Everton (1929–32), Colts (1944–45), United British Oilfields Trinidad (1950–51), Malvern United (1960–61), Maple Club (1970–72), ASL Sports Club (1982–83) and fellow Pro League club W Connection (1999–2000)—since the tournament began in 1927.
While Caledonia looks ahead to stamp its name as the first club in the history of the tournament to win the title on three consecutive seasons (2008, 2011-12 & 21013), Maple and Malvern have claimed the most trophies with seven each, while Defence Force, beaten in the final last year, 1–0 has six.
In Friday’s final, Soca Warriors midfielder Keyon Edwards scored one and was influential in another scored by Akim Armstrong, the ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the final to triumph over the Terry Fenwick-coached ‘Central Sharks.’
Commenting on the win, Moe said this season’s triumph was a little more important.
“It was a little more difficult for us,” continued the Caledonia coach. “But the distractions made (victory) a little sweeter.”
Some of the distractions highlighted by Moe was the fact that Caledonia had nine players out on trial, a couple on the injury list, and having to fit new players quickly into the system.
“We deserve the win,” added Moe. “And I want to thank the players and staff for working together. Once we continue working together and on our individual performance, we can go on to achieving more.”
Caledonia also defended the First Citizens Cup back in October, one of four titles picked up last season. The others are the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship, which the club now has the opportunity to defend following the withdrawal of T&TEC FC.
“We will prepare for those tournaments,” assured Moe. “But right now our task is the (Digicel Pro) League title. It’s going to be difficult with Defence Force seven points ahead of us, although we have a match in hand. We want to win the league.”
The club recently welcomed the return of midfielder Densill Theobald and defender Nuru Abdallah Muhammad who both featured in the final of the FA, and striker Jamal Gay, all returning from European trials. The return of the trio to an already bolstered squad with the likes of Argentine midfielder Miguel Alejandro Romeo, Antiguan duo Akeem and Elvis Thomas, and Guyana midfielder Vurlon Mills during the December/January window, could seem tricky for any manager.
“It’s not that difficult,” said the Caledonia coach. “We are working on players in development and we are just going to gradually bring them in. It’s my job to man-manage the roster and make sure we have players that walk right into the team.”
Caledonia is also still in the race for the Digicel T&T Pro League title with eight matches left to complete its schedule.
The Morvant/Laventille “Stallions” currently sits second in the standings with 29 points from 14 matches, seven behind leaders Defence Force, while defending champions DirecTV W Connection has 25 points from 14 matches, followed by North East Stars with 20 from 13 matches.
Tomorrow, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Caledonia and W Connection meet in the feature match of a double-header from 8 pm, while two hours later, a bottom-of-the-table clash between T&TEC FC and St Ann’s Rangers takes place.
Simultaneously at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, fifth-placed Central FC takes on Police FC from 6 pm in a mid-table battle and from 8 pm Defence Force tackles North East Stars.
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