Do not count out the DIRECTV W Connection Football Club just yet.
Trinidad and Tobago football fans left the Hasely Crawford Stadium in a sombre mood last night after watching Mexican outfit, Toluca, thrash Caledonia AIA 5-1.
But Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier promised a livelier affair tonight when the “Savonetta Boys” face Arabe Unido from 8 pm in the final group stage home match of their 2013 CONCACAF Champions League campaign.
“Tonight we have an important task,” Fevrier told Wired868. “Caledonia having lost 5-1 puts us under even more pressure to get a positive result for Trinidad and Tobago and the Pro League… But fans can expect an upbeat W Connection team that is very focused and doing everything in our power to win.”
Caledonia entered last night’s Champions League fixture on the back of a four-game winless streak. In contrast, Connection drew its last outing in CONCACAF while Fevrier’s men won their last two domestic games with 11 goals scored and two conceded.
“It is a new team and every game gives the players an opportunity to gel and understand each other better,” said Fevrier. “We have scored 11 goals in the last two games, which is encouraging.”
Connection registered ten new players for the 2013/14 season; eight of them are foreigners, which brought the club’s tally of non-Trinidad and Tobago nationals up to an eye-raising 14 players within the team’s 27-man squad.
But Fevrier insisted that the strong contingent of overseas players will not hamper the development of talented local youngsters like the former national under-20 trio of midfielder Jomal Williams, winger Neil Benjamin Jr and defender Alvin Jones.
“We have a large squad and there is a lot of competition for places in the team,” he said. “These guys will get the opportunity to play and it is up to them to take the chance when they get it.”
Thus far, Connection has not come close to fielding an all-foreign squad and there have been at least four Trinidad and Tobago players in every starting team this season.
The jewel of the team remains Trinidad and Tobago utility player and club captain Joevin Jones—Alvin’s older brother—although he has not exactly looked it.
“He had a fair game (against St Ann’s Rangers on Saturday),” said the Connection coach. “I still don’t feel that he is top shape yet but I hope he is good enough to have an impact on the game (tonight).
“He is such a talented player that, although he cannot play for 90 minutes, he has the quality to make an impact at any time.”
The 22-year-old Jones, who played at left back in the 2013 Gold Cup but is Connection’s playmaker, did not travel to Saudi Arabia with the Warriors due to “mental fatigue.”
“For the last three seasons, he did not get any rest (because of all his club and international commitments),” said Fevrier. “We will be monitoring his condition this season and will make decisions on whether or not we rest him as we go along.”
Connection lost 3-1 away to Arabe last month. Jones and company must find a way to reverse that scoreline today or the home team will be eliminated from the Champions League.
“It is a must win game for us and we will be doing everything in our power to get a victory,” said Fevrier. “It will be an upbeat game.”
(DIRECTV W Connection squad)
Goalkeepers: 22.Aquelius Sylvester, 21.Alejandro Figueroa, 18.Julani Archibald;
Defenders: 24.Joao Ananias, 25.Christian Ocoro Viveros, 13.Devaughn Elliot, 39.Alvin Jones, 23.Brendon Boucaud, 19.Leslie Russell, 4.Daneil Cyrus, 15.Mekeil Williams, 2.Kurt Frederick;
Midfielders: 6.Celio Da Silva, 40.Jomal Williams, 3.Gerard Williams, 7.Silvio Spann, 10.Joevin Jones, 28.Yhon Reyes, 27.Yefer Lozano;
Forwards: 14.Hashim Arcia, 31.Jerrel Britto, 65.Neil Benjamin, 16.Mirko Delia, 9.Andrei Pacheco, 26.Stefano Rijssel, 11.Tremain Paul, 12.Camilo Ortega.