W Connection will aim to ensure that Haitian champion, Victory SC, fails to live up to its name from 5.30 pm today in the first game of a Caribbean Club Championship double header at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
The second fixture pits the Antigua Barracuda, which participates in the United States League Pro competition, against Suriname’s Inter Moengotapoe from 7.30 pm.
The round-robin tournament continues on Tuesday and Thursday with the eventual group winner and runner-up advancing to a semi-final stage against the top teams from a second group, which includes the Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA team.
Connection, who recently won its fourth domestic league title, is the most successful team in the revamped CFU format with four titles and two runner-up finishes since 1997—although Defence Force remains the last Caribbean team to win the entire CONCACAF tournament when it triumphed in 1985.
Victory is not nearly as successful, inside or outside of Haiti, and travels to Trinidad with an ageing squad. Inter Moengotapoe has won four of the last five domestic titles in Suriname but also has a raft of players in their 30s with one notable exception in 21-year-old international midfielder Stefan Baneti.
The Antigua Barracuda arguably pose the biggest threat to Connection.
Thirteen members of their squad are part of the Antiguan national team that has qualified for the Concacaf semifinal stage including seven starters and national captain George Dublin, who previously represented Joe Public and Tobago FC in the local Pro League. But perhaps the club’s close bond with the national set-up is not surprising when the Barracudas’ England-born coach, Tom Curtis, is also the national team technical director and the club’s owner, Gordon Derrick is the Antigua FA general secretary.
Winds of change are blowing through Caribbean football. Connection will offer resistance this evening.