Bitter Couva rivals W Connection and Central FC are both fired up for a final go at each other this season in the semi-final round of the 2014 Digicel Pro Bowl.
And it can also be the final match for Central head coach Terry Fenwick, as the 54-year-old Englishman is set to join Belgium lower division outfit CS Visé.
But on Friday 16 May he will lead Central into the semi-final Pro Bowl clash against Connection from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, following the semi-final one between former winner Defence Force and Police FC which kicks off at 6 pm.
“We are going straight to the Final (of the Pro Bowl) and win it out!” exclaimed Central FC and Trinidad and Tobago forward Rundell Winchester on Tuesday night after his side defeated cellar-positioned St. Ann’s Rangers 3-0 in their final league match.
Willis Plaza scored twice against Rangers to end his league tally on 14 goals while Winchester also grabbed a goal against the St. Ann’s club.
Winchester and his Central teammates (45 points) securing a second position finish in the 2013-2014 Digicel Pro League behind champions W Connection (50 points) and ahead of third placed finishers Defence Force (45 points) by a superior goal-difference to qualify for next season’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.
“It’s going to be another good game [against Connection] I’m sure,” said Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick on Tuesday night. “But having achieved this [CFU Club Championship spot] tonight, it’s a big lift for us and our club, and we are going to give them (Connection) a hell of a game on Friday night.
“We will be hammering as we normally are against W Connection. All we would ask for is a strong referee. We are looking forward to the game and we want to finish off the season in style.”
Central defeated North East Stars 3-0 in the quarterfinal round of the Pro Bowl a week ago with a goal each by Willis Plaza, Darren Mitchell and Winchester.
While Connection defeated Caledonia AIA 3-1 with Alvin Jones, Hashim Arcia and Stefano Rijssel the scorers for the “Savonnetta Boys” but on Tuesday of this week coach Stuart Charles Fevrier’ side needed a Mickaeel Gem Gordon equaliser to hold the Jamaal Shabazz-coached side to a 1-1 draw.
Now Central, winners of this season’s First Citizens Cup and Lucozade Sport Goal Shield, and W Connection, the present League, Digicel Charity Shield, Toyota Classic and FA Trophy champions, will face each other for a staggering seventh ‘El Clásico’ this term.
“A next Cup to Central,” suggested Winchester.
The head-to-head of six previous meetings shows Central bettering W Connection with 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats.
The "Sharks" defeated Connection 4-2 on penalty kicks following a goalless First Citizens Cup semi-final round meet en route to lifting the title.
Connection fired back in December with a 1-0 Round One win in the league, and in the same month defeated the "Sharks" 6-5 on penalties in the Final of the FA Trophy after a 2-2 draw.
Both sides met again in Round Two of the league in February, and that contest finished in a 2-2 tie. However in March, Central trounced the “Savonnetta Boys” 3-0 in Round Three of the league, and defeated coach Stuart Charles Fevrier's men again in the Final of the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield in April with a 2-1 score.
“[Friday’s match against Connection] will be harder than any before,” the speedy 20-year-old Winchester predicts. “W Connection will go out in training and try to learn what we have done and try to play similar. They will also try to close us down as fast as we try to attack.”
Connection assistant coach Earl Jean said that while his club has achieved its major goals this season, by winning the league championship and qualifying for the CFU Club Championship, towards the Concacaf Champions League, the "Savonnetta Boys" will be fired up on Friday.
“The thing is we are always fired up because that's who we are," said Jean, a former W Connection and St. Lucia forward. "The season has been very long and lot of players are ready to go on holidays after winning the league title but Connection always play to win every competition we play in.”
Jean said that after players have accomplished a title such as the league championship following a long hard season can sometimes produce low energies.
But agreed that it is the job of the Connection technical staff (headed by Stuart Charles Fevrier and assisted by former players Jean and Elijah Joseph) to revitalize the players.
Eying a fourth major title and fifth overall this season, Jean added, "We are always confident of going all the way … whatever team we play."
Defence Force and Police meanwhile, are coming off defeats 1-0 (against San Juan Jabloteh) and 3-0 (against North East Stars) respectively this week, and a win for either team means one step closer to ending the season on a high.
A pair of saves by Army goalkeeper Kevin Graham on kicks from the penalty spot, earned the army/coastguard combination a 4-3 penalty win over Point Fortin Civic following a 2-2 draw in the quarterfinal round, while Police advanced with a 4-2 win over Jabloteh.
A hat-trick by Police forward Jameel Perry, scoring in the 15th, 32nd and 80th minutes, and a 42nd minute item by teammate Elijah Belgrave outdid a second half penalty spot double by Jabloteh’s Kerry Baptiste, who converted in the 50th and 58th minutes.
Belgrave (Elijah) advanced to meet brother Josimar, who plays Defence Force, in the semi-final round.
2014 Digicel Pro Bowl Semi Final Round
Friday 16 May
Police FC vs Defence Force—6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Central FC—8 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium