Fri, Jan


Mahaica Madness

A much-anticipated first South derby between Directv W Connection and Point Fortin Civic FC is on this Saturday in the form of First Citizens Cup quarter-final which kicks off from 3.30 p.m. at Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin.

Yesterday, the 2013 edition of Trinidad and Tobago’s most popular cup competition was launched at the VIP Lounge, Hasely Crawford Stadium, where the mouth-watering quarter-final showdown was announced.

Both teams are also currently unbeaten and joint Pro League leaders and one of them is definitely going to lose their unbeaten tag, and go out of the competition early.

“They (Point players) wanted this showdown,” Point Fortin manager Ken McCrea declared yesterday. “They are excited about it.”

W Connection have provided high standards in the First Citizen Cup, winning six times and were also twice runners-up. Meanwhile, Pro League newcomers Civic FC have brought a new excitement to local football.

Point brings with them a crowd, music, flags, strong football and a generally good atmosphere. Mahaica is expected to be packed.

The match-up also has added ingredients, apart from both teams simply battling to be the best in South.

Civic Centre, former members of the old National Football League, are playing professional football for the first time and have assembled a team containing several recent W Connection members. But the Point Fortin manager insists that they have not raided their rivals. Instead, McCrea argues that Point Fortin talent had built W Connection over the years, and that some of these players have simply returned home to play for their village team.

“W Connection got built with our players,” McCrea said. “So it will be a good match up.”

Another attractive match-up is the quarter-final clash between defending champions Caledonia AIA and Pro League champions Defence Force—the team they defeated in last year’s final.

Following 2-1 defeats of T&TEC and Defence Force respectively in 2011 and 2012, champs Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA will be looking to win the First Citizens Cup for a third straight year and also collect the $100,000 first prize.

There is also a competitive clash between North East Stars and Central FC, two teams known for hardworking “blue collar” football. This year’s tournament begins tomorrow with a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, First Citizen official Warren Sookdar confirmed the bank’s continued association with Pro League football, while T&T Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene described the bank as a long-term and faithful partner.

“For the past 11 years, First Citizens has had the privilege of partnering with a League that continues to develop the raw talent of our nation’s youths and it is with great pride today I confirm our commitment for the 12th year,” stated Sookdar, chief information officer, information technology desk, First Citizens.

“We thank them for being the first partner and continuing with us throughout the year of professional football,” Pro League CEO Skeene said. “That they remain unwavering in their support of the Pro League is deeply appreciated and respected by all of us.”

Caledonia starts Cup defence against Army.
By Nigel Simon (Guardian).

Two-time defending champion Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA will begin its quest for a third straight lien on the First Citizens Cup when it faces fellow two-time winner Defence Force, in one of three mouth-watering quarterfinal clashes for the $100,000 winner’s cheque.

This was disclosed when the draw for the nine-team competition was made at the VIP Lounge, Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, yesterday.

The meeting between Caledonia and the “Teteron Boys”, the reigning Digicel Pro League champions and also a four-time First Citizens Cup losing finalists is a repeat of last year’s final which was contested at the Mucurapo venue.

It will be the last quarterfinal to be played on Monday, the second match of a double-header at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 8 pm.
Back then, Caledonia, beaten in the 2001 and 2007 final by W Connection made a successful defence of its crown with a 2-1 defeat of Defence Force with a goals from Jamal Gay in the 20th and Guyana’s Trayon Bobb in the 49th, to cancel out a 26th minute effort from Richard Roy.

A year earlier, the Morvant/Laventille club won the competition now in its 14th year, and 12th of First Citizens-sponsorship by a similar 2-1 scoreline with Kareem Joseph scoring both goals in the 26th and 65th after the now defunct T&TEC had a taken a 15th minute advantage through, newly signed Pt Fortin Civic FC striker Sylvester Teesdale.

In the other quarterfinal matches determined, five-time First Citizens winner and two-time runner-up DirecTV W Connection and T&T Pro League newcomer, Pt Fortin Civic FC, joint leader of the league table with six points apiece from two matches clash at Mahaica Oval, Pt Fortin from 3.30 pm on Saturday while Central FC and North East, two teams yet to win the competition and quarterfinal losers last season do battle in the second match tomorrow at Mucurapo from 8 pm.

San Juan Jabloteh, winner of the title in 2000 and 2003 as well as runner-up in 2005, makes a return to the tournament after a year’s absence from the league due to financial difficulties.

However, it will have to wait until tomorrow night to know its quarterfinal opponent for Monday’s first match at Macoya from 6pm, as Police and St Ann’s Rangers will meet in a qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 6 pm tomorrow.

The quarterfinal winners will meet in the semifinals at a venue to be determined on October 4 for a place in the final on October 18, a week after the Fifa international date on which the Soca Warriors will be in action.

This year’s final will also see a change in that should both teams be tied at the end of the 90-minutes regulation time, a two 15 minutes half of extra-time will be played.

However, the golden goal rule will apply with the first team scoring during the extra-time period being declared champions.

As stated by Warren Sookdar, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Department, First Citizens, the theme of the competition is “There are no room for losers” and this is clearly evident, with the runner-up prize being vastly less than the winners’ cheque, in the sum of $20,000 ensuring that all teams will no doubt have their eyes set on the top prize.

In addition, individual cash incentives of $1,000 will also be on offer to the top goalscorer and “Most Valuable Player” of the competition while the media was also encouraged to give off their best work with rewards of a similar $1,000 for the ‘Best Photograph” and “Best Coverage”.

Spectators were also not left out of the give-away frenzy from First Citizens as the $500 “Dash for Cash” will once again return along with a prize of a cooler of drinks at the semifinals and finals going towards the “Biggest Cooler Crew” along with other give aways.

Sookdar, during his brief speech noted that for the past 11 years First Citizens has had the privilege of partnering with a league that continues to develop the raw talent of our nation’s youth and it is with great pride he confirms his company’s commitment for the 12th consecutive year.

He added, “I applaud the Pro League for its successful efforts in the promotion of football in T&T and it commitment to the production of well rounded footballers as similarly First Citizens is committed to enhancing our youth through their development in education and sport.”

In closing Sookdar noted that at First Citizens they firmly believe sport contributes to the individual progress and national solidarity while brining discipline to life.

“It encourages dedication, team work and camaraderie amongst sports men and women and all the mention attributes are essential to our day-to-day living and contribute to our growth as well rounded individuals.”

First Citizens Cup fixtures

Qualifier - Tomorrow:
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo

Police vs St Ann’s Rangers, 6pm

Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo

Central FC vs North East Stars, 8pm

Saturday’s quarterfinal:

W Connection vs Pt Fortin Civic FC, Mahaica Oval, Pt Fortin, 3.30pm

Venue: Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya

Police/Rangers winner vs San Juan Jabloteh, 6pm
Caledonia vs Defence Force, 8pm

October 4 - Semifinals
October 18 -  Final