Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick believes that his side, only in its second season of existence, is already forging itself ahead and deserves appropriate credit.
Fenwick, who led the “Sharks” to the First Citizens Cup, celebrated the club’s second title this season by defeating bitter Couva rivals W Connection 2-1 in the Final of the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield last Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
“It's massive for the club and central (Trinidad), obviously,” said the former England international and Tottenham defender, who took charge of Central FC in January 2013, replacing another England international and former Arsenal player Graham Rix.
Central are also seated in a respectable third position on the Digicel Pro League standings with 41 points (and two matches remaining), while longstanding leaders W Connection and defending champions Defence Force are first and second respectively with three matches remaining.
But although his team stands with an unlikely chance of finishing in a top two, which qualifies teams to the Caribbean Club Championship, the qualifier towards the Concacaf Champions League, Fenwick remains optimistic.
“I think it’s going to be a tight race to the end of the season now,” added Fenwick, a three-time Pro League winning coach during his spells at San Juan Jabloteh.
“We’d love to be there (in the Concacaf Champions League) but we are very disappointed with (Caledonia losing 4-0 against Defence Force in a rescheduled league match also played on Friday). Caledonia, regional champions, were very poor and that’s not like them at all and we were very disappointed in them.
“But there are two massive games coming up, Army against Connection (on May 2 and 6) and then on the last day Connection have got Caledonia (May 13). Anything can happen. We’ve just got to do our bit. We have Jabloteh (May 6) and Rangers (May 13) in our last two games, which are two good games for us.”
However with two titles already and the Digicel Pro Bowl still to be contested this season, Fenwick believes, “anything else would be cream on top of the cake. I think we can be proud of what we have done this season already.”
W Connection, winners of this season’s Digicel Charity Shield and Toyota Classic, and the team that defeated Central in the Final of the FA Trophy, remains ahead of Central when it comes to titles this season.
But when thousands of spectators flocked the Ato Boldon Stadium last Friday to witness the entertaining Final, it was evident that Connection were unable to match Central when it came to supporters.
“Hats have got to come off for (Central FC’s managing director) Brent Sancho and (operations director) Kevin Harrison who have done a hell of a lot of community work,” said Fenwick. “It’s almost twice a month that we have been in different communities in the central region.
“We are trying to do our best for football. We want to gather support. We’ve got a successful team on the field that’s doing very well, (…) but for a two-year-old club I think we have been outstanding and we will only get better.”
Fenwick’s mid-season signings included Trinidad and Tobago internationals Ataullah Guerra and Willis Plaza, former T&T international Yohance Marshall, two-time T&T FIFA Youth World Cup midfielders Leston Paul and Sean de Silva, and Samuel Delice, adding to a cast that already included the likes of T&T goalie Jan-Michael Williams, Marvin Oliver, Jason Marcano, Rundell Winchester, Elton John, Keion Goodrigde, Akeem Benjamin and Darren Mitchell.
“I’ve approached it very differently to what I’ve done in the past,” explained Fenwick over his ability to keep his players fired up. “I’ve actually given the players a lot of time off and I think we have looked fresh … brand new when we come out to play and we’ve blown teams away. We’ve scored four, five and six goals against teams, which is unusual at this time of the season. I’ve got a very talented squad although we are running a little bit thin. But all of our players are top quality.”