Last update: 09-Dec-2013 9:32 pm
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Caledonia vows to battle on in CCL
Despite losing its first two matches in the 2013/2014 Concacaf Champions League, T&T Pro League outfit Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA of Morvant/Laventille intends to fight back.
The Morvant/Laventille club is currently bottom of the three-team group without a point after two matches, following a 3-1 away loss to Mexico’s Toluca on August 6 at the Estadio Nemesio Díez (Toluca de Lerdo), and a 3-0 loss at home to Guatemalan powerhouse CSD Comunicaciones at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on August 29. Comunicaciones now as three points, three behind unbeaten Toluca.
Speaking recenly, a defiant Jamaal Shabazz, Technical Director and coach of Caledonia said his team will fight to the end and use the next two matches to raise the standard of its game.
“Concacaf has not yet seen the best of Caledonia, stated Shabazz, as his club resumed training after their 3-0 loss to Comunicaciones with all the goals coming from Uruguayan striker Paolo Saurez, the brother of Liverpool’s Luis Saurez.
“It's a difficult pill to swallow when you know that Guatemalan team are not really three goals better than us. Our possession was good and we created five chances but just could not get the ball into the back of the net.
“Our finishing was not up to the level and we let not only ourselves down but the country and the Caribbean as well, added Shabazz frankly.
Shabazz feels that hard word and commitment has made Caledonia a top team in the Caribbean but acknowledges there were still a lot needed to make them a sharp team at Concacaf level.
“We are a ghetto team but there are still too much guys whose minds have not elevated out of the ghetto and into the thought pattern of becoming an elite athlete so that we can transform into an entity that can truly inspire ghetto youths.
“ I look at the abilities of Nathan Lewis, Noel Williams and Keyon “Bodom” Edwards and if only these guys could change their lifestyles, rest more eat better and live for the game.
“ They need to give more, a player like Jamal Gay should be in Europe, but is it bothering him that he is not even in the national team right now and should at least be in Saudi Arabia, he questioned.
“You get a sense that our guys are happy to do well locally and at Caribbean level but the failure to make an ultimate sacrifice to become that elite athlete is holding us back, stated Shabazz.
Not absolving himself and his staff from blame, Shabazz added. “The challenge in coaching is not just winning and losing. I think as a staff we must do more to motivate and inspire the players as individuals and a group to get more ambitious. It really starts with us”, added the man who took Guyana to the semi final stage in Concacaf of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Looking ahead to Caledonia's next two Champions League fixtures against Toluca FC of Mexico at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on September 18 and Communications in Guatemala five days later, Shabazz was still very enthusiastic.
“We are warriors we owe it to the T&T Pro league, our fellow clubs and Caribbean football to be more competitive at Concacaf F level.
“Two games down but we not going to bow we have to fight back. This is how we make our living and the Champions League is the highest club level a player can ply his trade in the Concacaf region, ended Shabazz.
Last season, Caledonia competing in the CCL group stages for the first time only managed one point, in a 0-0 draw at home to Honduran club, CD Marathon while tasting defeat in the away leg, 1-2 and in both ties with USA’s Seattle Sounders, by similar 3-1 margins.
The “Stallions” as Caledonia are known kick off their local Digicel T&T Pro League season on Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium against North East Stars.
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