Trinidad and Tobago's Caribbean Zone club champions CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh will start their quest for qualification for the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a series against Suriname club Walking Boys from seven o'clock tonight at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
Jabloteh are the defending champions in the the knockout series that this year will run from September 22-October 20 and involves eight Caribbean clubs.
Jabloteh's quarter-final series begins with tonight's home leg, followed by the return fixture on Sunday in Suriname.
Last year, Jabloteh got a quarter-final bye, then emphatically eliminated Jamaican champs Arnett Gardens in the semi-finals, before beating fellow local club Vibe CT 105 W. Connection in the Caribbean Zone final.
Jabloteh then went on to represent the Caribbean in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, where they won the first leg of their quarter-final 4-1 at home against MLS club Chicago Fire of the United States, before losing the return 4-0 at Soldier Field, Chicago and being eliminated 5-4 on aggregate.
Once again, one club will represent the Caribbean in the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Joining the Caribbean champions will be the top three teams from the Central American region; two clubs from Mexico; and two from the United States.
The draw for the eight-team Champions Cup will be held at the offices of the CONCACAF General Secretariat in New York City in early 2005.
The CONCACAF Champions Cup is the longest-running international club competition in the region and has crowned the champion club of the Confederation since its inception in 962.
In 42 years of competition, the Defence Force are the only team from Trinidad and Tobago to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup, in 1985, the competition being dominated by clubs from Mexico, the United states and Costa Rica.
Caribbean teams have won the title just five times through Haitian representatives Racing (1963) and Violette (1984); Transvall of Suriname (1973 & 1981); and Defence Force who were the last Caribbean winners 19 years ago.
The winners of the 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup will qualify to the next FIFA Club World Championship to be held in Japan in December next year.
2005 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS' CUP QUALIFYING
Home Teams Listed First
SERIES A 24 September: Intermeongotapoe (SUR) vs. Juventus de Saint-Martin (SXM); 29 September: Juventus de Saint-Martin (SXM) vs. Intermeongotapoe SUR)
SERIES B 3 October: Bassa Sports Club (ATG) vs. Tivoli Gardens (JAM);
17 October: Tivoli Gardens (JAM) vs. Bassa Sports Club (ATG) SERIES C
6 October: Harbour View (JAM) vs. Ideal Football Club (MSR);
20 October: Ideal Football Club (MSR) vs. Harbour View (JAM)
Today: CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) vs. Walking Boys Company (SUR); 26 September: Walking Boys Company (SUR) vs. CL Financial Jabloteh (TRI)