JERRY MOE, coach of top local football club Caledonia AIA, has declared that his team’s focus will be on the 2012/2013 Pro League crown.
Caledonia have never claimed the local league title, but this season they successfully defended the First Citizens Cup and are currently on course to retain the FA Trophy.
Moe, speaking after Caledonia AIA’s 5-2 drubbing of Central FC in a Pro League Round One Match Day Seven at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday, noted, (our) main focus this season is to try and win the League.
“Once we take it one game at a time, I think we have a good chance to win the League, even though we have a game in hand,” he added. “Army (Defence Force) probably will have points on the board (but) we just have to take care of business.”
Defence Force have a three-point lead over AIA (16 to AIA’s 13), but Caledonia have a game on hand.
Caledonia welcomed five Trinidad and Tobago players to their team last week — midfielders Densill Theobald, Ataullah Guerra, Keyon Edwards, as well as defender Aubrey David and striker Jamal Gay.
And, in Friday’s game, they went ahead 4-0 in the first-half through goals from Kareem Joseph, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Cornelius Stewart and Guerra, before Nuru Muhammad completed the scoring in the dying minutes.
Asked if was it deliberate to attack from the onset, especially with the returning TT players, Moe admitted, “no, not necessarily.”
“We rested the national players for the FA game on Wednesday (a 1-0 win over Joe Public), so they were fresh (on Friday). The players on national duties (will) be coming back on a high because they did well in the (Caribbean Cup). It really was not a plan but the outcome was to win the game. Fortunately we scored four goals in the first-half.”
Central FC scored twice in the second-half, through debutant Rundell Winchester and Tyrone Charles and Moe stressed, “we (were) very sloppy in the second- half. I thought we could have done a lot better, seeing we had a four-nil lead.
“I think the guys played the score, instead of trying to play the game. The focus was a little bit off.”
For the New Year, Moe said, “we’ve got a game on the fourth of January against North East Stars and then after that we’ve got a FA (quarter-final) on the ninth against Stokely Vale so that’s the immediate future right now.”
In the absence of English-born coach Graham Rix, the coaching duties for Central FC fell to assistant Kevin Jeffrey, as well as the team’s managing director Brent Sancho.
Questioned about Rix, Sancho responded, “he went away on December 15th. His flight was booked to go back on the 15th. The dates changed in the League but he had to go.
“We had him permanently booked. So it’s nothing untoward or so.” Central FC’s defending was poor in the first-half and Sancho minced no words, stating “that’s been our major problem.”
He continued, “defensively we’ve been shambolic. To be fair, we’ve lost our starting centre-half in (Corneal) Thomas and we have one or two other injuries and (the players) are now coming back. We’re struggling defensively, absolutely struggling.
“We will add (some new players), there will be a lot of new faces. We’re changing the demographic of the team so we’re not overly concerned. We’re just happy that the window is open and we can bring players in.”
With regards to Winchester’s performance, Sancho said, “we knew he’s a gem. When we saw him and we went after him feverishly, since we saw him three months ago. I went over to Tobago, spoke to his parents and got him over here. He’s a major signing.
“We also have his other (Stokely Vale) team-mate as well (Omar Charles). We’re looking forward to these two doing positive things for the team.”
Their lone TT player, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, returned to the starting line-up and Sancho commented, “I think he did very well. Marvin has been a stone for us and I think he should be challenging for the number one shirt.
“It’s been positives coming forward. We’re really looking to the second-half of the season, where we’re now putting together the team we always wanted to put together,” concluded Sancho.