Another Pro League season, another league trophy for Central FC. In truth, the “Couva Sharks” triumph was only half of the story in a local top flight season that did not lack intrigue despite the shortened duration.
Wired868 plays tribute to the Pro League players that shone most consistently this term:
Julani Archibald (W Connection/Goalkeeper):
No team conceded less goals than W Connection this season and Archibald, a strong, composed and competitive custodian, is a big reason for that statistic. At 25, the St Kitts and Nevis international served notice that he isn’t knocking on the door anymore. He is here!
Carlos Edwards (Ma Pau Stars/right back):
Age is just a number. At 38, Edwards was the grand-pappy of the Pro League this season. And, yes, his performances dipped slightly when used at left back. But on the right side of the defence, he oozed consistency and demonstrated good one on one defending skills and an overlapping threat. Stars flattered to deceive this season. But Carlos sure didn’t.
Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force/central defender):
They call him “Boyo” but, if you’re a forward, it would be wise to ask his permission first. Fast, street-wise and plenty mean, Gonzales makes up for his lack of height with a surplus of heart. Mind your ankles!
Julius James (Central FC/central defender):
There are a few Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team coaches over the past seven years who should be blushing at overlooking “King James.” Tough, smart and competent, few attackers left a confrontation with James without needing a word with their physio. Even fewer walked away with the ball.
Kevon Villaroel (Central FC/left back):
Villaroel does not bomb down the left flank like he did in his heyday anymore. But, arguably, the defensive side of his game has improved. And he showcased his versatility and willingness to sacrifice for the cause with a shift in central defence when the “Central Sharks” endured their now customary HR issues.
Hughtun Hector (W Connection/central midfield):
Hector’s right boot is probably qualified to teach engineering. Despite the regular “distractions” of international duty, the pocket-sized maestro again demonstrated his class in a range of roles for the “Savonetta Boys” and finished with 10 goals in all competitions. At 32, it is not a question of if Hector can still contribute at a higher level. Only where he will contribute.
Leston Paul (Central FC/central midfield):
Strong, steady and competent in defence and offence, the 26-year-old midfielder arguably had his best Pro League term yet. There were just two goals all season and one came from the penalty spot. But there is no other aspect of the game that Paul would leave you feeling shortchanged.
Darren Mitchell (Central FC/right midfield):
Scoring game winners was like child’s play for “Chucky” this season. And goals barely scratch the surface in terms of his contribution to Central FC’s unprecedented third successive Pro League titles. Athletic and enthusiastic, Mitchell performed competently in every role across the Central midfield and even at right back.
And, for his consistent excellence and infectious attitude, we think there was no player who made a bigger mark on the 2016/17 Pro League season. So, Mitchell is our Wired868 Pro League All Star MVP!
Hashim Arcia (Defence Force/attacking midfielder):
Arcia’s finally out of the closet! After a string of anaemic performances with only flashes of talent in his first season with Defence Force, Arcia rewarded coach Marvin Gordon’s trust and patience this term, as he moved out of first gear at last and thrilled with his range of passing, close control and eye catching goals.
A key factor in the Army/Coast Guard combination’s two Cup triumphs this season.
Dimitrie Apai (W Connection/left midfield):
Call him the Hitman from Suriname. Quick, skilful and aggressive, the 22 year old Apai was in roaring form this season as he buzzed around opposing defences like a wasp and finished with nine league goals in the abbreviated season.
Akeem Roach (Club Sando/striker):
At times, it looked like Roach was playing the number 9 and 10 roles all on his own. And sometimes the 11 and 7 too! Strong, skilful and fast, the winger-cum-striker’s 11 league goals were the most in the Pro League—although there is the matter of an unfinished Defence Force game against Point Fortin Civic that could possibly change the eventual Golden Boot winner.
Consider Roach to be “an unpolished Cornell Glen.” And that says volumes about his potential.
And the next best things:
Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC/goalkeeper):
Williams’ season was interrupted with injuries this term. But he remains one of the safest pairs of hands in the Pro League and was invaluable again to his Central’s success.
Keston George (Central FC/defender):
Another of Central’s “Mr Fix-Its”, George has played in four or five different roles for the “Couva Sharks” from defence to midfield. And they have not found one that he looks uncomfortable in yet.
Jameel Antoine (St Ann’s Rangers/midfielder):
He calls himself “Messi.” We won’t go nearly that far! But Antoine is a solid box to box central midfielder who is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Jelani Peters (W Connection/defender):
Strong, tough and comfortable on the ball, Peters is undroppable in a Connection team that is not short of defensive talent. The sky is the limit if he stays focused.
Christon Thomas (Police FC/winger):
A crafty dribbler and competent crosser of the ball, you are in trouble when Thomas takes possession in the final third of the field.
Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando/midfielder):
Humphrey must have an extra set of lungs. Another versatile and spiky figure who never saw a battle that he didn’t think he could win.
Dylon King (Morvant Caledonia United/attacker):
He started the season with St Ann’s Rangers and ended it in a Morvant Caledonia United shirt, which is the fourth time he swapped clubs in as many years. But King and his itchy feet will continue to be wooed by Pro League coaches, as long as he remains a threat in possession and behind a dead ball.
Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh/winger):
Jabloteh underperformed this term but Lewis was as dangerous as ever down the flank and, for the second straight season, led his club in goals.
Jamille Boatswain (Defence Force/striker):
Boatswain swapped Mahaica Oval for the Teteron Barracks in mid-season and few people have made moving house look so easy. Just give him the ball in or around the opposing penalty box. He will know what to do.
Jason Marcano (Central FC/attacker):
Nobody laughs at his high pitch screams for the ball anymore. They are usually followed by penetrative runs at the opposing goal.