With just one more day to October 29, 2016 and the joyous, religious and spiritual observance of Divali, there is tremendous excitement and anticipation.
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Police chases first Pro League title in 2 decades
Police will seek to turn back the clock and claim a first domestic title in more than 20 years when it comes up against four-time winner and reigning Digicel Pro Bowl holders; DirecTV W Connection in this year’s final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 8 pm.
Tonight’s meeting, the first in a final between boths clubs, is a tale of contrasting fortunes for W Connection owner/president David John-Williams and a once dominant Police.
Since its inception in 1999 as a professional outfit, the Couva-based W Connection has won no fewer than 30 titles, including five Pro Leagues, one Big Six, four T&T Football Association FA trophies, six First Citizens Cups, two Digicel Charity Shield, three Toyota Classics, four Digicel Pro Bowls and a Lucozade Sport Goal Shield crown locally, while on the international scene it has lifted the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship title on three occasions.
On the other hand, Police, were former national champions in 1979, 1991 and 1994, while it also won the FA title in 1975, 1990 and 1994 to complete a double.
Two years later (1996), the lawmen reached the FA final, but came up short against bitter rival, Defence Force and since then the club has struggled to reclaim the glory days, failing to reach a final, until now at the expense of the same Defence Force which it defeated 4-2 in the semifinals a week ago.
In last year’s Pro Bowl final, W Connection edged North East Stars 4-3 on penalty-kicks after a 2-2 draw.
For tonight’s winner-take-all $100,000 match, which will bring the curtain down on the season, W Connection will be without injured Dimitrie Apai, scorer of a hat-trick against Police in the 6-1 league win, along with national defender Daneil Cyrus who signed an 18-month deal with Vietnam League 1 outfit Hanoi T&T earlier this week.
But it’s business as usual for coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier, who isn’t taking Police lightly.
“Police have showed big improvement and must not be taken lightly. They defeated Jabloteh and Defence Force and when you reach a final, you have earned it, and they have definitely earned it.”
Charles-Fevrier added, “Over the years we definitely have a good record against them, but they have beaten us also and football is on the day of the game. I watched them against Defence Force and they played a really good game.”
For Police FC, winning the title would be a second giant step for coach Richard Hood’s side after securing the club a top flight final for the first time in 18 years.
Hood noted it was going to be a tough game. “They have defeated us all season, but other than the 6-1 defeat, our 0-1 defeat in round one and 1-2 defeat in round two were tight games.
“We are aware of the threats they pose, their strengths in certain areas of the pitch and their use of midfielder Joevin Jones. But once we control those areas and neutralise them, then our chances are fair.”
Hood said that it has been the plan of Police FC to finish the season on a high, all for the future of their programme. “The attitudes of the players are good. We had a period of three weeks where we were able to put in some good work, because we wanted to finish the season on a high. And on Friday we want to win the for the future of the programme.
“We have to show our seniors that with the right support, we can do much better. So I would say that we have a lot of motivation,” he said.
Today’s Digicel Pro Bowl matches:
Exhibition match: Referees vs Coaches, 7 pm
Bowl final: W Connection vs Police FC, 8 pm