T&TEC FC, making its debut in the Pro League this season, is already enjoying life at the top when it secured a place in the Final of the 2011 First Citizens Cup with 4-3 penalty win over six-time winners W Connection last Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in the semi-final round.
T&TEC, with four games under its belt and unbeaten, have many contributing factors to credit its position at the top of the Digicel Pro League Championship table with 3 points, following two match days and a chance at a title on Friday 14 October against Caledonia AIA in the First Citizens Cup Final from 6:30pm.
Apart from boosting its technical staff with the likes of Clayton Morris as Technical Director, former England based goalkeeper Clayton Ince as assistant coach/player and former Ma Pau and Joe Public goalkeeper coach Jefferson George, T&TEC also boosted its roster with experienced Pro League players Romauld Aguillera, Andrei Pacheco, Kelvin Modeste, Vurlon Mills, Weslie John, Simeon Agustus, Bevon Bass, Brenton DeLeon and Coneal Thomas.
Meantime Sylvester Teesdale, Kevon Neaves, Jamal Ayres, Anthony Noreiga, Bevon Lewis, Tigana Sparks also played at the Pro League level before joining T&TEC—last season’s Super League and Knockout winners.
And what seems a huge factor in the club’s current form, is head coach Dexter Cyrus’ fearless approach.
“I don’t really like to put a lot of emphasis on the opponent. The opponent has to deal with me,” explained Cyrus following his team’s penalty win over Connection following a 1-1 regulation time result.
Aguillera, a former Connection player, scored the opening item in the first half for T&TEC before Jerrel Britto leveled the scores for a 1-1 score.
And on the penalty kicks former Connection player Modeste netted the final kick for the 4-3 win after goalkeeper Akini Adams made a shutout against Britto.
Prior to Friday’s victory over Connection, T&TEC’s results includes a 2-1 win over DIRECTV North East Stars in Match Day One of the League, a goalless draw against St. Ann’s Rangers and a 4-4 result against Adam’s Construction San Juan Jabloteh in the quarterfinal round robin stage of the First Citizens Cup.
“All respect to W Connection, they are great opponents on the day,” continued the T&TEC coach. “We worked hard on the training pitch and put down some guidelines for the guys that were very specific.
“We forced Connection to defend. We started sinking in the end but nevertheless we came away with the victory.
“I decided to play my natural game and when they attacked me, I counterattacked. And this is exactly what I’m going to do (against Caledonia).
“I’m not going to spend all that time thinking about what Caledonia are going to do. They are supposed to be thinking what I’m going to do,” added Cyrus.
The T&TEC coach already tips the clash between his side and Caledonia, “a Final to remember.”
Shabazz: Caledonia showed guts.
Caledonia head coach Jamaal Shabazz commended his players following last Friday’s 2-1 comeback victory over cross-town rivals Adam’s Construction San Juan Jabloteh in the semi-final round of the First Citizens Cup at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Jabloteh were in front by the 34th minute when former Caledonia midfielder Marvin Oliver converted a penalty against Kevin Graham, after the Jamaican goalkeeper pulled down speedy midfielder Kennedy Hinkson inside the area.
However Caledonia bounced back in the second period with a double by striker Jamal Gay netting in the 47th and 66th minutes to send the Morvant/Laventille side into the Final of the 2011 First Citizens Cup on Friday 14 October from 6:30pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“We had a very poor start,” said Shabazz.
“But I think our guys showed a lot of guts coming back into the second half because we didn’t play the Caledonia way, with the passing and so on in the first period.
“A lot of credit must be given to our guys in the end and also to Jabloteh, because they never stopped working. After the poor first half by both teams, I think the game picked up well in the second half.”
The Caledonia coach went on to explain, “We are definitely missing Densill (Theobald) in midfield. We still have talent in our squad but we are missing our free flowing passing game.”
Shabazz said that judging from his team’s performance in the second period against Jabloteh, “We will get there.”
Caledonia are up against T&TEC in the First Citizens Cup Final and Shabazz who joined the Guyana Men’s National Senior Team for World Cup qualifiers against Barbados on October 7 and Bermuda on the 11, said his club will be very confident heading into the Final.
“We’re going to do a lot of recovery work before getting back into it. And I think we will be going into the Final very confident,” he ended.
T&TEC surprised six-time winners W Connection to a 4-3 kicks from the penalty spot victory following a 1-1 regulation time score.
2011 First Citizens Cup Final
Hasely Crawford Stadium
T&TEC FC vs Caledonia AIA—6:30pm