Central FC is poised to replace one Trinidad and Tobago international goalkeeper, Marvin Phillip, with another, Jan-Michael Williams, as the Pro League outfit gets ready for the 2013/14 Digicel Pro League football season.
Williams, who was the starting goalkeeper for the “Soca Warriors” at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, is under contract at St Ann’s Rangers until the end of the month. However, Central FC managing director Brent Sancho told Wired868 that there has been communication between the two clubs and he expects the transfer to go through.
“It is a huge signing for us, particularly with his history in the League as a player,” said Sancho, a former 2006 World Cup player. “He has won numerous championships with W Connection and that is the kind of player we want at the club; winners!”
Sancho confirmed that Phillip, who captained Central last term, will not be with the “Couva Sharks” this season after the parties failed to agree personal terms.
“Marvin didn’t return to us (after the Gold Cup),” said Sancho. “He did very well for us last season but we were not able to agree on terms.”
The 28-year-old Williams will be playing for his third team this calendar year after he left DIRECTV W Connection for Rangers in March, where he completed the season.
Williams was back-up to Phillip at the 2001 Under-17 World Cup and the two enjoyed a healthy rivalry ever since for Trinidad and Tobago. Williams has 51 full international caps with 61 goals conceded while Phillip made 42 full senior international outings with 45 goals conceded.
At the recently concluded Gold Cup season, Williams became the first Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper to record a clean sheet in that tournament as he helped the Warriors to a 2-0 win over Honduras, which secured the nation’s passage into the knockout stage for only the second time.
The former St Anthony’s College student was once on the verge of a move to Sheffield United but could not secure a work permit while he had professional stints in Belgium and Hungary with White Star Woluwe and Ferencvarosi.
However, his name was synonymous with Connection who he helped to an array of titles including the 2011/12 League title. Williams is also the only goalkeeper to be awarded the Pro League MVP title.
A fall-out with Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier prompted his move to Rangers where Williams managed two draws and as many losses in his four League outings. He would hope to get back to winning ways on the domestic scene with Connection’s Couva rivals, Central.
The national goalkeeper is one of two big signings for Central in this pre-season as the Sharks also snapped up versatile 25-year-old Rangers central defender Jamal Jack and are negotiating with free agent Kaydion Gabriel, who spent last season with North East Stars.
Otherwise, Central coach Terry Fenwick has focused on youthful acquisitions like the teenaged quintet of Dwight Quintero, Nicholas Dillon, Kevon Goddard, Javon Sample and Dwight Pope who will mesh with a handful of veterans like Marvin Oliver and Jason Marcano.
“We are shaping up to definitely be a challenger this year,” said Sancho. “We are still looking at one or two possibilities locally… We are still looking for a central defender, left back and midfielder. But we are happy with what we have upfront.”