Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick has a point to make against DIRECTV W Connection, and wants to do it on Friday when both teams meet in the semi-final round of the First Citizens Cup at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
“I’m just hoping that (our) local boys come through,” he said.
The highly anticipated Couva derby between Central and six-time First Citizens Cup winners (2001, 2004-2008) Connection will kick off from 8pm in semi-final two.
Two hours earlier, 6pm, San Juan Jabloteh and two-time winners (2002 & 2009) Defence Force will kick off semi-final one.
Jabloteh defeated St. Ann's Rangers 2-1 to reach the semi-final, while Defence Force, the defeated finalists to Caledonia last season, edged the Morvant/Laventille club 1-0.
As for Central and Connection, the Couva clubs reached the semi-final round by defeating North East Stars 2-1, and Point Fortin Civic 6-5 following a goalless draw, respectively.
Connection head coach Stuart Fevrier, has played down the magnitude of the derby, saying that the semi-final clash against Central it as a typical day for his team.
But there is more to it for Fenwick, than just the precious spot into the First Citizens Cup Final onOctober 18.
“The magnitude of the game is on several fronts,” said Fenwick, a longtime rival of the “Savonnetta Boys” and a former England international.
“W Connection made a statement by bringing in fourteen foreigners,” the three-time Pro League winning coach continued.
“They clearly don’t have faith in local development. It’s disappointing that a club like W Connection isn’t helping the cause whether it be the Pro League or the national team.
“(Connection coach) Stuart Charles (Fevrier) and (Connection owner) David John Williams have gone for third rate Brazilians and Colombians. None of these players are Brazilian, or Colombian national team players.
“There are criteria everywhere else in the world when it comes to foreign players. So why isn’t there a more critical criteria? Where is the development in that?
“(Caledonia head coach) Jamaal Shabazz and (North East Stars head coach) Angus Eve have been very vocal when it comes to foreign coaches, but nothing was said when Connection signed fourteen foreigners. That’s clear contradiction!"
Fenwick went further to add, “We are doing our best not just for Central, but for the national effort as well. Our objective is to get as many players from Central into the national team. Clearly, Connection doesn’t have that sort of ambition.”
But contrary to some of Fenwick’s views, Connection made seven new foreign signings this season.
Twenty-one year-old midfielders Yefer Steven Lozano Rubiano and Yhon Stiven Reyes Lopez, and 23 year-old striker Camilo Andres Ortega Diaz were all snapped up from their native Colombian Club Deportivo Orsomarso; 25 year-old Brazilian midfielder Celio Guilherme Da Silva Santos, formally of Brazil’s second division club Gremio Anapolis, and fellow countryman 22 year-old right-back João Ananias Jordão Júnior on a six-month loan deal from Brazil's First Division outfit Clube Nãutico Capibaride. St. Kitts/Nevis international goalkeeper Julani Archibald and former Italy Under 20 striker Mirko Delia were also new signings.
But the 24 year-old Delia returned home last month and could possibly quit the game because of chronic knee pain according to Fevrier.
Last month Fevrier defended the club's decision to shop outside T&T for talent. He explained that a number of players had renege on contracts while others were unprofessional in their attitude towards the game at a time when Connection were preparing for the Concacaf Champions League.
The rest of Connection’s squad includes T&T Senior Team internationals Joevin Jones and Daneil Cyrus; T&T Senior Team capped players Hashim Arcia, Mekeil Williams and Jamal Clarence; ex-T&T Senior Team internationals Silvio Spann and Clyde Leon; T&T U23 players Jerrel Britto and Jomal Williams; T&T U20 players Neil Benjamin and Alvin Jones; ex-T&T U23 defender Leslie Russell; while former T&T youth player Andell Noray and fellow Tobagonian Gem Gordon were new signings.
St. Lucia Senior Team Internationals Kurt Frederick and Tremain Shayn Paul; Suriname Senior International Stefano Rijssel; and St. Kitts/Nevis Senior International Davaughn Elliot were part of the Connection set-up prior to this season, while Colombians Christian Viveros and Alejandro Figueroa, and St. Kitts/Nevis Senior International Gerard Williams are seasoned Pro League campaigners.
“Our boys are pumped up and they are ready to go," said the Central coach, turning his focus on Friday’s First Citizens Cup semi-final clash. "They have recognized the statement Connection have made.
"We have a nice mixture of youth and experience and played particularly well in the first 45 minutes against North East Stars [in our last game] and should have been 3 goals up. We are hoping to keep lifting our standard."
Fevrier meantime, was cool as ever ahead of the Central contest.
“It’s a normal game for me,” said the St. Lucian. “Every game we play is a derby for us. Everyone is always motivated when they are against us, and this one is no different.”
However he didn’t trim down the physical task ahead, adding, “Normally, teams that Fenwick coach, tend to be very physical. So that’s the type of game we are expecting. That’s the sort of the game our players are expecting.”
This week Connection welcomed back Trinidad and Tobago Senior Team duo Joevin Jones and Cyrus to the squad after the pair served a retroactive two-match suspension following a breach of contract.
Jones and Cyrus, the club's then captain and vice-captain respectively, were guilty of playing in a minor league match last month.
Fevrier left the duo out of his squad for the team's final group match of the Concacaf Champions League away to Houston Dynamo of the United States Major League Soccer, and against Point Fortin at the Mahaica Oval.
Jones and Cyrus were fined two month’s salaries of which one month was suspended pended any further infractions within the next six months, as part of the club’s Disciplinary Committee’s ruling.
Fevrier said that all his players are available and whatever the selection on Friday, "We always have confidence in our ability. We always back our team to do well against any opponent. And I have confidence in all my players, and at any point in time, anyone will play.”