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Champs WASA FC faces revamped Club Sando in NSL opener

There will be a host of former Pro League football talent on show at the WASA ground in St Joseph tomorrow as defending Blink/Bmobile National Super League (NSL) champions WASA FC meet Club Sando from 4 pm in the pick of the opening day fixtures.

In tomorrow’s other NSL fixtures, Real Maracas faces Siparia Spurs at Maracas, St Joseph, Joe Public takes on Guaya United at the Marvin Lee Stadium and FC Santa Rosa challenges Malabar FC at the UTT Ground in O’Meara. All games start at 4 pm.

WASA FC coach Anthony Dhanoolal, a former Caledonia AIA standout, is aiming for a victorious start as the “Water Boys” launch their title defence.

Photo: WASA defender Akil Harley (left) tackles St Ann's Rangers hitman Devon Modeste during last season's Toyota Classic Cup match. The pair might cross swords again tomorrow. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: WASA defender Akil Harley (left) tackles St Ann’s Rangers hitman Devon Modeste during last season’s Toyota Classic Cup match.
The pair might cross swords again tomorrow.
(Courtesy Wired868)

“We are at home and we are looking for three points,” Dhanoolal told Wired868. “We are not overly concerned about how Club Sando will play; we’re just looking to play the best game we can.”

Club Sando finished 11th from 12 Super League teams last season. But technical director Muhammad Isa’s roster for the upcoming season suggests that the club’s ambitions are quite different this year.

St Ann’s Rangers utility player Devon Modeste was the joint fourth highest scorer in the Pro League last season and he is the pick of Sando’s pre-season recruits. But much would be expected too from former DIRECTV W Connection full backs Kern Cupid and Kemuel Rivers and goalkeeper Andre Marchan, versatile ex-Police defender Coneal Thomas and Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA striker Odelle Armstrong.

Isa said some of the Pro League players chose Sando for regular playing time although he suggested that they were also happy with their new salaries.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago and Connection right back Kern Cupid (left) holds off ex-Caledonia and Guyana starlet Trayon Bobb. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago and Connection right back Kern Cupid (left) holds off ex-Caledonia and Guyana starlet Trayon Bobb.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Armstrong, who was a fringe player for Caledonia as the “Eastern Lions” qualified for the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League, said he just wanted to play more.

“Caledonia is forever in my heart,” said Armstrong. “But every football player, despite his love for his childhood club, wants to play. And, at this stage of my career, I felt moving suits me and my family situation.”

Sando has Pro League coaching experience in its ranks too with coach Anthony Streete, a former head coach at Rangers and assistant at Connection, while 28-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams will serve as goalkeeping coach between his playing duties for the “Soca Warriors” and Rangers.

WASA will not be overawed though.

Dhanoolal promised “an attacking, possession-based game” while the defending champions boast one of the top five players from the 2012 NSL competition in the form of 22-year-old midfielder Jahhan Hernandez.

“We are going on all-out attack in our first game,” said Hernandez, “and we are hoping that we can get good support from our community fans, even though it’s a Sunday.”

Photo: WASA FC midfielder Damien Pompey tries to beat St Ann's Rangers goalkeeper Zane Coker (left) during the TTFF FA Trophy last season. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: WASA FC midfielder Damien Pompey tries to beat St Ann’s Rangers goalkeeper Zane Coker (left) during the TTFF FA Trophy last season.
(Courtesy Wired868)

WASA is not short of former top flight talent either with the likes of Kerry Noray (Jabloteh), Kerron Smith (W Connection) and Shane Calderon (Joe Public) among its stand-outs in 2012.

Last season, WASA FC stunned Rangers in the Toyota Classic Cup. Dhanoolal’s men will hope to remind Modeste and company of that fact tomorrow.

(Teams)

Club Sando:

Goalkeepers:  Andre Marchan, Peter Martin, Alexi Julien.

Defenders: Devon Drayton, Dwayne Charles, Trevor Mitchell, Kern Cupid, Kemel Rivers, Stefan Brereton, Devon Bristol, Coneal Thomas, Nathan James.

Midfielders: Kirwin Jackson, Lemuel Lyons, Anthony Parris, Andre Phillip, Nathan Daniel, Randy Britto, Kwame Wiltshire, Jesse Downing, Andy London, Ateba McKnight.

Strikers: Devon Modeste, Odelle Armstrong, Keith Williams.

Technical staff: Muhammad Isa (technical director), Anthony Streete (head coach), Dexter Franklyn (assistant coach), Roger Ryan (physiotherapist), Jan-Michael Williams (goalkeeping coach).

 

WASA FC (Unavailable):

2013 BLINK/bMobile fixtures

(Sunday July 7)

WASA FC vs Club Sando, 4 pm, WASA ground, St Joseph;

Real Maracas vs Siparia Spurs, 4 pm, Maracas, St Joseph;

Joe Public vs Guaya United, 4 pm, Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya;

FC Santa Rosa vs Malabar FC, 4 pm, UTT Ground, O’Meara.

About Colin Benjamin

Colin Benjamin is a former freelance writer for the Trinidad Newsday newspaper and Guyana Stabroek News.

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