'We are not going to take any team for granted. We are 90 minutes away from winning a title, the guys are aware of this and they are ready for the challenge," said Derek King, the FC Santa Rosa coach, ahead of its crucial clash with Cunupia FC in the T&T Super League from 3:30pm on December 2 at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima.
King, a resident of Arima who represented Arima North at the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) before moving on to represent the country at different levels, has been impressing upon his players of the need to not lose a title on the final game of the season, as the team did last season.
FC Santa Rosa which is nicknamed "The Big Cannons" are on 60 points, three ahead of its closest rival Queen's Park Cricket Club, which faces second from bottom Club Sando Cultural Roots in its last match.
King sees this as certain three points for the Parkites, which means his team must at least draw against Cunupia FC to capture the title.
The mathematics though is that if the Big Cannons are beaten and the Parkites win by five clear goals, QPCC can wrestle the title from Santa Rosa, in spite of leading the standings for the past months.
King's main concern is the vulnerability of his defence too soft goals, a concern that was evident in the team 4-1 victory over San Fernando Giants on Friday past. "We have a very lethal offence from some quality players which always ensure our goals, but we somehow we always concede soft goals which we are working hard to plug."
He believes Cunupia will attempt to restrict his team's attacking move, come December 2. The last time the teams met at the Arima Velodrome, the teams shared the points from a 1-1 stalemate. But Cunupia, considered one of the better teams in the league this year by King, cannot afford such a result, as it will literally hand the Big Cannons the silverware.
The Central team is fifth on the standings with 44 points but will have a point to prove with a victory which will also take them to fourth.
Santa Rosa last won the coveted Super League title back in 2016, the first Arima team to have had such successes in years. And with their achievement came unbridled support from the Arima community, which includes Mayor Lisa Morris Julian and other corporate entities.
King told Guardian Media Sports he wants to say a big thank you to all who supported his team this season by winning the trophy.
QPCC vs Club Sando Cultural Roots, St Mary’s College Ground, St Clair, 3.30pm
Cunupia FC vs FC Santa Rosa, Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, 3.30pm
RSSR FC vs Matura ReUnited, Curepe Reccreation Ground,Knowles Street, Curepe, 3.30pm
Bethel United vs Prison Service, Mt Gomery Recreation Ground, Mt Gomery, 3.30 pm
Guaya United vs UTT, Guaya Recreation Ground, 3.30pm
Police FC vs Petit Valley/Diego Martin United, St James Police Barracks, St James, 3.30pm
T&T Prison Service 1 (Shane Hospedales 57th) vs Cunupia FC 0
Petit Valley/Diego Martin United 2 (Akeil Thomas 44th, Quincy Charles 62nd) vs Bethel United 1 (Akeilon Murphy 58th)
QPCC 3 vs Erin FC 0 - by default
King: We want to win title for Arima.
By Andrew Gioannetti (Guardian).
TT Super League final day showdown
FC SANTA ROSA head coach Derek King has urged his players to do everything within them to bring glory back to Arima and its surrounding districts when they face Cunupia FC today in the final match of the TT Super League season.
FC Santa Rosa require only a draw at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima, in order to secure their second league title in three seasons.
A loss for FC Santa Rosa, however, could mean a dramatic turn of events, which could allow for Queen’s Park to win the league on goal difference if they win their match, as expected, at home to a second-from-bottom Club Sando.
All seven matches are scheduled for a 3.30 pm kick-off.
King, in an interview with Newsday yesterday, said he described the variables to the players and assured them that a loss today could result in a repeat of a disappointing end to last season when the “Big Cannons” were prevented from winning the league after losing 1-0 to UTT on the final match day.
“They are really excited,” King said.
“And, as I told them, to lead the table from day one and then to lose the league in the last game won’t be a good feeling. Last year they experienced that, so I think the guys matured.”
He said community support and sponsorship have been the backbone of FC Santa Rosa and deserve recognition for their support. According to King, some of the supporters even made it to Tobago to support the team in their away matches.
“I think most of all, the players want to do something for Arima because what we did this year is really bring back out the crowd in football. If you watch the support we have in the Arima base, it’s one of the best in the country. I think we owe them that.
King, a former senior national team defender and Under-20 team head coach, however, said their opponents today must be respected.
“I saw them (Cunupia FC) play. They have a solid team. They have the top goal-scorer in the league (Kevon Woodley), who has experience playing at the Pro League level. So, it’s somebody we have to pay close attention to. I think Cunupia is one of the better teams in the Super League. Yes, it will be tough but the guys are eager. They know the task at hand.”
FC Santa Rosa have a three-point and a one goal advantage over Queen’s Park heading into today’s grand finale.
According to league regulations, all matches must kick off at the same time (3.30 pm) and there will be no “grace period”.
If the top teams are tied on points, the team with the greater overall goal difference will win the league. Therefore, since the goal difference between the two teams is down to a single goal, Queen’s Park will only need to win by a single goal, while FC Santa Rosa will also only need to lose by one goal, for the “Parkites” to win the title.
*All matches kick off at 3.30 pm
Queen’s Park vs Club Sando, Fatima College Ground, Mucurapo Road
Cunupia FC vs FC Santa Rosa, Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima
RSSR FC vs Matura Reunited, Curepe Recreation Ground
Bethel United vs Prison Service, Montgomery Recreation Ground
Guaya United FC vs UTT, Guaya Recreation Ground
Police FC vs Petit Valley/Diego Martin Untied, Police Barracks, St James