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Jean: Tough decisions coming.

Connection secure sixth Pro League crown but…

W CONNECTION secured their sixth Pro League crown on Friday, after whipping 2017 champs North East Stars 4-0 in the second game of a double-header, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

This title will be added to the club’s collection of Pro League trophies, having won in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2011-12 and 2013-14.

After finishing second in the League last season, Connection will feature in the 2019 Caribbean Football Union (CFU)/Caribbean Club Championships.

But Connection’s assistant coach Earl Jean has admitted the team’s hierarchy may have to make harsh decisions with regard to their immediate future.

During a post-game interview on Friday, Jean said, “We have to regroup as a club. We’re supposed to have some very important meetings because we have to decide where we want to go from here.”

The former St Lucia and Connection striker continued, “We have the Caribbean Club Championships coming up so now we’ll have to try and put a squad together. We will be making some changes and now it’s for us to sit down as a club to decide. Financially, the clubs have been in problems so it’s big decisions now on where we’ll go from here.”

The Pro League clubs (excluding Police and Defence Force) have been virtually reliant on Government subventions, in order to survive.

Jean has been a part of all six of Connection’s title-winning teams – as a player (2000, 2001 and 2005) and as an assistant coach (2011-12, 2013-14 and 2018).

“It’s always a tremendous feeling to win the title,” Jean said. “Sometimes you win it so many years playing and coaching, but every year is a special year. I think, because of the effort the players put in this year, I think it was a great achievement.”

Before Connection began their match against North East Stars, they were assured of a top-two finish and a spot in the 2020 Caribbean Club Championships.

In the earlier match at Couva, Central FC edged Police 1-0 to finish second, while in a simultaneous game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Club Sando, who started the day in second spot, slipped to third after a 3-0 loss to Morvant Caledonia United.

Jean insisted that the squad was totally focused on their game, and not the other results on the evening.

“We were not concentrating on (the Police vs Central) game,” said Jean. “I heard somebody saying that Caledonia (were) winning. To me, we were just focused on winning (our) game.

“Sometimes the players will play too relaxed, so we were just focused on getting the three points and trying to win the championship.”

Asked about the team’s 2018 season, Jean replied, “We had a tremendous season. With all the international breaks, I think the players gave us 100 per cent every game, and we were really pleased about it. In the first round, we won about five consecutive games. It was a big effort.

The Connection assistant coach continued, “You can see that (most) of the teams were very close and the competition was fierce. Credit to all the other clubs in the Pro League.

“We give the players credit and the staff for sticking together in the difficult financial times we have right now. It worked out well for us in the end.”