Morvant Caledonia United suffered one of the most lopsided defeats of Trinidad and Tobago’s professional era last night, as they were humiliated 8-0 by Defence Force at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The mauling followed Caledonia’s 3-1 loss to newly promoted Club Sando on Tuesday evening and saw the “Eastern Stallions” slip to the foot of the 10-team Pro League standings on goal difference.
By halftime, Caledonia, who without Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, already trailed by six goals with captain Jerwyn Balthazar leading the way with a hattrick. And second half items by Ross Russell Jr and Kellon Serrette sealed a memorable result for all the wrong reasons.
It has been eight years since the Pro League registered a more severe spanking. And the Army/Coast Guard combination administered that one too with a 10-0 win over Tobago United on 23 October 2008.
The Pro League’s record mauling was never in danger last night, though. W Connection hold that distinction with a 18-1 massacre of Tobago United on 22 August 2004.
Four years ago, World Cup 2006 midfielder Densill Theobald led Caledonia to its first and only Caribbean Cup title. He described last night’s results as the most painful he has endured as a professional player.
“I like to look at things from the brighter side,” Theobald told Wired868. “But the reality is we have a very tough task at ‘Cale’ at the moment. And until things change, the results can only get worse.”
Theobald explained that Caledonia decided to wave goodbye to many stalwarts during the pre-season and go with a fresh-faced squad. But then financial issues hit, as the change in government saw a temporary freeze in the subvention to Pro League clubs.
Caledonia, according to Theobald, were less prepared for the financial hardship than many of their rivals.
“Caledonia are heavily dependent on that government subvention,” said Theobald, “whereas some other clubs like Jabloteh and North East Stars and W Connection have other sources of income.
“Players here haven’t been paid in three months. And then you are asking them to have a professional mindset when we are not operating at a professional level administrative-wise.
“It is a big ask for our young players who don’t know about dealing with hardship like that. They just are not motivated. I am really sorry about this result.”
The financial issues saw St Kitts and Nevis international attacker Kennedy Isles return to his homeland while talented 20-year-old winger Akeem Roach has supposedly opted to rejoin the Defence Force.
The task will only get harder for Caledonia head coach Jerry Moe, as Theobald leaves for India on Monday. The veteran midfielder has already agreed terms with I-League professional outfit, Sporting Clube de Goa.
“I was supposed to go back up for a while but I delayed (my departure) to help out with Cale,” said Theobald, “because it is really hurting me to see where we reach to with the lack of respect that teams have for Cale now. It is a real disaster.
“Cale is my heart. I haven’t missed a training for any useless reason and I try to lead by example and show the younger ones that mental resilience.
“Because it takes mental resilience to reach the goals you have in life.”
It might have been worse for Caledonia. Defence Force striker and the Pro League’s record goal scorer, Devorn Jorsling, did not play.
In yesterday’s other fixture, Ross Russell made his coaching debut for North East Stars as they drew 2-2 with Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh at the same venue.
Kennedy Hinkson opened the scoring for Jabloteh after just two minutes. But Stars rallied to take a 2-1 lead through Gorean Highley and Neil Mitchell, only for teenager Brent Sam to grab a late equaliser for the “San Juan Kings.”
Ironically, it was Stars who got Russell fired last month, as the club’s 1-0 win over Central FC prompted the latter club to drop the axe.
But Russell will now look to restore a reputation he built on the back of two Pro League titles with Defence Force.
Defence Force, now under coach Marvin Gordon, had no complaints about their own health yesterday, as they annihilated a sorry Morvant Caledonia squad.
Pro League results
(Friday January 8)
Defence Force 8 (Jerwyn Balthazar 10, 14, 21 pen, Rodell Elcock 26, Sean Narcis 34, Kishun Seecharan 45, Ross Russell Jr 55, Kellon Serrette 89), Morvant Caledonia United 0 at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Kennedy Hinkson 2, Brent Sam 88), North East Stars 2 (Gorean Highley 24, Neil Mitchell 64) at Hasely Crawford Stadium;
(Saturday 9 January)
Police FC v Point Fortin Civic, 3.30 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
Club Sando v W Connection, 5 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC v St Ann’s Rangers, 7 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Record Pro League defeats
W Connection 18, Tobago United 1 (22 August 2004);
North East Stars 13, Tobago United 1 (30 June 2004);
Starworld Strikers 13, Tobago United 1 (19 September 2004);
Defence Force 10, Tobago United 0 (23 October 2008);
South Starworld Strikers 9, Tobago United 0 (2 May 2004);
Clico San Juan Jabloteh 9, Defence Force 1 (21 May 2003);
Clico San Juan Jabloteh 9, Tobago United 0 (7 December 2003);
Defence Force 8, Morvant Caledonia Utd 0 (8 January 2016);
Defence Force 8, St Ann’s Rangers 0 (4 January 2013);
W Connection 8, Police 0 (4 September 2009);
Jabloteh 8, South West Drillers 0 (19 April 2004)
North East Stars 8, South West Drillers 0 (22 August 2004);
W Connection 8, North East Stars 0 (4 August 2002);
Defence Force 8, Point Fortin Civic Centre 0 (30 June 1999).