DIRECTV W Connection star and 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup defender Daneil Cyrus will swap the Pro League for the V-League as the Trinidad and Tobago international has already left for Vietnam where he will play for defending champions, Hanoi T&T.
Cyrus, who gave a fine performance against Jamaica in Trinidad and Tobago’s 2-0 win on Tuesday night, left Piarco International Airport this evening along with Connection teammates Jerrel Britto and Jamal Clarence.
Clarence, who played alongside Cyrus at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, and Britto will have a 10-day trial at fellow V-League outfit Song Lam Nghe with pre-arranged contracts in place for if they are successful.
Hughtun Hector and Willis Plaza, who represented the “Soca Warriors” in the 2012 Caribbean Cup, were Song Lam Nghe employees last season and helped the club to fourth place, just four points adrift of winners Hanoi T&T.
Hector’s exploits caught the eye and Hanoi presented the former Connection playmaker with the number seven shirt for the upcoming season. Hanoi will participate in the 2014 AFC Cup, which ranks just below to more glamorous AFC Champions League.
Cyrus will join him there without the need for a trial.
Connection owner David John Williams revealed that the versatile defender is on loan to Hanoi until 30 August 2014.
Last December, Song Lam Nghe was also interested in Cyrus but insisted that it would only sign the defender if he agreed to skip the 2013 Gold Cup and the proposed deal subsequently collapsed. Williams said Hanoi has made no such request.
“They are aware that (Cyrus and Hector) are national players and have asked for nothing of the sort,” Williams told Wired868.
Connection will receive a loan fee for the respective players while Cyrus, Britto and Clarence will reportedly enjoy a substantial pay raise.
Williams noted that there was much scepticism when Pro League teams first started sending players to Asia and German ex-Warriors coach Otto Pfister famously accused local clubs of acting like slave owners.
However, reports from players who participated in Asia have been positive and Williams said Pro League footballers often ask him for assistance in earning a move there.
“The Asian market is an emerging market in football because of the numbers over there,” said Williams. “You see the big teams like Barcelona and Manchester United going over there for pre-season and players like (Didier) Drogba and (Nicholas) Anelka competing in China…
“Our players are eager to go because of the good reports from players who went out there.”
Williams credited Hector’s successful two-year spell with Song Lam Nghe for opening the Vietnam market to Trinidad and Tobago players.
“(Hector’s) performance has turned the eyes of Vietnam scouts across the Atlantic and opened up the market for our local players,” said Williams.
Connection supposedly also received requests from Vietnam for another national starlet, Joevin Jones. However, the gifted 22-year-old utility player is more likely to head for Europe instead.
“They asked me for Joevin,” said Williams, “but there are other discussions regarding him already in the works.”
Connection intends to sign replacement for the outgoing trio by the next transfer window although talented striker Shahdon Winchester, who represented FF Jaro in the Finland Premier League, will return next month while the Finnish top flight is in its off-season.
Plaza, who scored just four goals from 18 matches last season, is also likely to return to the Pro League, after spending the last two seasons in Vietnam, with Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh being the most likely targets.
At present, Trinidad and Tobago has three national players in Asia, exclusive of Hector and Cyrus. Defender Seon Power and attacker Kendall Jagdeosingh play for mid-table Thailand team, Chainat FC, while Cornell Glen represents Shillong Lajong FC in India.
Glen, who starred for the Warriors at the recent Gold Cup, already has six goals from seven appearances for Lajong and is the league’s joint second highest player.
Glen, a former North East Stars player, is the second Trinidad and Tobago national to feature in the Indian football league after veteran Caledonia AIA midfielder Densill Theobald led Dempo to the 2012 domestic title.