Angus Eve, coach of Sangre Grande-based T&T Pro League’s North East Stars has urged supporters to stick with the club during rocky times as well.
Eve, was speaking after he led the club to its maiden Toyota Classic title, 4-2 on penalty-kicks over Defence Force following a 2-2 draw at the end of regulation-time in the final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday night.
A former soldier, Eve thanked all the supporters for sticking with the team. “But I also want to say, don’t just stick with us for the good times, because there would be some rocky times.”
Stars supported by a vociferous contingent of travelling fans, some donned in the maroon replica team jerseys, were very noticeable on Friday and Eve paid tribute to club president Darryl Mahabir and marketing manager Maurice Eligon for their part in bringing out the fans.
“So you can imagine if we get our field in Sangre Grande. We had to pay for buses for them to come down but if we are playing at home, we would get a lot more people coming out and a better atmosphere.”
While it’s not the first title for the Mahabir owned club, it’s the first title for Eve in the capacity as coach of a professional club. “This is the first time as head coach,” shouted a jubilant Eve. “I did this a couple years ago with Ma Pau.”
Ironically Eve won the title against Stars in the 2010 Final on penalties as well, as an assistant to Michael McComie at the now dissolved Ma Pau SC.
Stars scored early with defender Glenton Wolfe burying a shot past goalkeeper Kevin Graham in the 17th minute. But after allowing a pair of second half goals by Defence Force defender Rodell Elcock, North East Stars had to fight back desperately for a late goal in injury time, scored by Keryn Navarro to level the scores and send the match into penalty kicks.
“It feels really good, because the first goal came straight off the training pitch,” Eve said. “It was a corner that we practiced. “We knew that Defence Force would have had the height advantage against us missing (defenders) Seon Power and (Kareem) Moses at the back.
And they scored on two set plays because they had the height advantage and I thought that’s the only way they could have held us.
“But we were disciplined and I want to credit the guys because we never gave up. I made a change with just six minutes to go by adding Gary Glasgow. We got what we deserved.”
And from the penalty kicks, Eve the eventual Coach of the Tournament knew he had the advantage in goalkeeper Cleon John who later picked up the Most Valuable Player award.
“Since the time I brought Cleon in at Jabloteh from Defence Force [in 2007] I knew that he always had two saves in him. He always saves two,” reiterated the Stars coach.