Ambitious North East Stars head coach Angus Eve wants a taste of the prestigious Concacaf Champions League, and is ambitions of qualifying the Darryl Mahabir owned-Sangre Grande club by finishing in the Digicel Pro League top two positions.
It doesn’t stray the former Trinidad and Tobago international that the Stars are positioned third on the league standings after Round One – a vast seven points behind leaders DIRECTV W Connection (20 points), and tied with second positioned Police FC and fourth positioned Defence Force on 13 points.
“We want to finish in the Concacaf Champions League spots (this season),” said Eve who is presently in his second season as head coach of the Stars.
“It’s early days in the league,” added Eve who finished the Stars in a creditable fourth position last season and won the 2012 Toyota Classic.
“There is still time for teams to catch W Connection. I think the stop-start in the season doesn’t help. But I think the mini pre-season that we just had during the Christmas break has helped in strengthening our squad and also to strengthen some of the areas we were a little bit weak in.”
Already, last season’s league winners Defence Force and runners-up Caledonia AIA have already secured spots for the Caribbean qualifiers towards the 2014/2015 Concacaf Champions League.
It means that if the Stars were to finish in the top two of this season’s league, they would have to wait until the Caribbean qualifiers to the 2015/2016 Concacaf Champions League.
In the previous CCL and the ongoing 2013/2014 edition, both W Connection and Caledonia qualified for successive appearances but never made it past the group stage.
Last Saturday Eve’s side edged bottom of the table St. Ann’s Rangers 1-0 at the Larry Gomes Stadium thanks to a strike by Tobagonian forward Trevin Caesar, and featured three December/January window signings – midfielders Keron Cummings (Rangers) and Chike Sullivan (San Juan Jabloteh), and striker Lemuel Lyons (San Juan Jabloteh).
“In the early parts of the season we had a lot of problems in terms of strikers and attacking players,” explained Eve. “I think we have now solved that problem adding young (Lemuel) Lyons from Jabloteh. We’ve also got Keron Cummings, a very talented midfielder, and also Chike Sullivan. So we are good in that.”
However he added, “I’ve set my target at five players in this transfer window (which runs from December 26 to January 24). We’ve got three out of five. I still need a Willis Plaza type (forward) and a Daneil Cyrus type (defender). If I could get those two types of players, then we would have a complete squad to finish off the season.”
Eve claimed that his roster had become thin during the 2013 period of this season because encroachment by other clubs, some even offering bigger salaries, in luring away his players.
He is now urging other clubs to refrain from tapping-up players and be more professional in their approach.
“I would like the coaches from other teams to stop encroaching players,” said the former Joe Public, Defence Force, Chester City (England) and Jabloteh player.
“Lets do it the right way. Don’t send a player with a transfer form. Let us send something officially to the club in writing and let’s deal with it from that standpoint. We (must) want to improve the Pro League, and we must raise the standard off the field in the administrative side of things.
“You don’t see it happening in England. Chelsea and then Arsenal defender Ashley Cole were fined when they had secret meetings with the player in 2006. Lets talk to the other club. Let’s be honest.
Let’s say I want a player like Daneil Cyrus, per say. I should call W Connection and say ‘hey we would like to make an offer. Is the player still in contract?’ There are some things that we can do to improve the discipline of the player by working together and not try to divide to conquer.”
Eve and North East Stars will return to action on Saturday 11 January from 3.3 pm at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin in Round Two Match Day One of the league.
The Sangre Grande club will tackle home side and seventh positioned Point Fortin Civic (9 points) – the side that edged them 1-0 with an stoppage time goal by Bevon Bass in Round One Match Day Two at the Hasely Crawford Stadium last September with the backdrop of a very entertained crowd.
“(Point Fortin head coach) Reynold Carrington is from the W Connection school, and he is doing a very good job with Civic,” Eve said.
“He is a good friend of mine. It’s a nice pitch up there. Nice big open-air pitch. We will be away from home and we have to approach the game a little bit different. It’s going to be a difficult one. In saying that, we are going to try and win the game. We want to keep the momentum we started after the break.
“For me, we started the season all over. That’s what I’m telling my players. The first game we played against (Point Fortin), they beat us 1-0 off one of our free kicks. After we slipped on the scoring opportunity, they went and score on the other end. It was a tight game. Now it’s at their home ground and I know they will have a good support. We just have to keep the crowd quiet and if we can get the crowd to turn on them, then their players will have the anxiety to deal with and the pressure would be on them rather than on us.”
Also on Saturday 11 January from 3.30 pm, cellar positioned St. Ann’s Rangers (3 points) will clash with eight positioned San Juan Jabloteh (7 points) in a bottom of the table tie.
However Round Two Match Day One kicks off on Friday 10 January with a double header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium when Police hosts Connection from 6 pm in a top of the table clash, and fifth positioned Caledonia against sixth positioned Central, both with 12 points, from 8 pm.
2013-2014 Digicel Pro League [Round Two Match Day One]
Friday 10 January 2014
Police FC vs W Connection – 6 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium
Caledonia AIA vs Central FC – 8 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium
Saturday 11 January 2014
St. Ann’s Rangers vs San Juan Jabloteh – 3.30 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium
Point Fortin Civic vs North East Stars – 3.30 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium