W Connection captain and utility player Alvin Jones believes it’s time the six-time champions lift the First Citizens Cup (FCC) again.
But six seasons empty handed of the FCC is not acceptable by Connection standards according to the 21-year-old Jones.
“We, the players, are approaching this tournament with a great deal of responsibility because the First Citizens Cup is very important to our club,” Jones told ttproleague.com this week. “It’s time Connection are First Citizens Cup champions again.”
The “Savonetta Boys” will face Point Fortin Civic from 6:30 pm on Saturday at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin in day one of the quarter-finals following a 4 pm kick-off between St. Ann’s Rangers and tournament-newcomers Club Sando at the same venue.
“It’s never easy to beat them (Civic) down there,” admitted Jones. “It’s always a derby when Connection are against them. It will not be easy but we (Connection) must all put our best forward to get (into the semi-final round).”
Meanwhile Civic head coach Leroy DeLeon dismisses the existence of full home-advantage to his side.
“When I was playing it was an advantage,” said the 67 year-old former US-based player between the late 60’s and early 80’s. “In my time playing at Mahaica we acted like professionals. This was like coming into our house that we ruled. We prepared well, ate well, rested properly before games like true professionals.
“It’s not the same mentality in the players now but that’s what we are trying to teach them.”
However with that aside, DeLeon, the Trinidad and Tobago legend who was inducted in the T&T Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, believes that Saturday’s FCC quarter-final double-header, which will culminate under the floodlit Mahaica Oval, will be enjoyable and called on football supporters to attend.
“We (Civic) are almost a brand new team compared to last season,” explained DeLeon who took over as caretaker last February after the club parted ways with another home-grown former talent, Reynold Carrington.
DeLeon’s appointment saw an immediate turnaround in results however only a fifth-place finish in the 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League was achieved, 22 points away from champions Central FC.
“We are not going to lie down to any team,” continued the Civic coach. “We expect a good performance from Connection. We can’t guarantee a win because that’s how football is, but we will give everything in our effort.
“Decided at our board level, is that we are putting a young team to build for the future, but in the meantime we don’t intend on being the floor mat of the league… we are not going to be the floor mat of the league.”
Goalkeeper Miles Goodman, Kern Peters, Nedeon Noel, Corey Cyrus and Kerwin Stafford were among a few unfamiliar faces DeLeon utilised against Central in a 3-0 loss in Round One Match Day One of the Digicel Pro League 2015-16 on September 26 at the Mahaica Oval.
“We had jitters in our opening game with a few players playing at this level for the first time and we allowed 3 soft goals to Central,” the Civic coach said. “I think we fixed our defence, not that (other teams) can’t score, but it’s going to be difficult to score. I’m also happy with the mentality of our players believing they can win every game right now.”
First Citizens Cup 2015 Quarter Final Round
Saturday 17 October 2015
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
St. Ann’s Rangers vs Club Sando—4 pm (QF 1)
W Connection vs Point Fortin Civic—6:30 pm (QF 2)
Sunday 18 October 2015
Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force—4 pm (QF 3)
Police FC vs Central FC—6 pm (QF 4)
Semi Final Round
Friday 23 October 2015
Winners QF 1 vs Winners QF 4
Winners QF 2 vs Winners QF 3
Friday 30 October 2015