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Connection unbeaten in Suriname; but can ‘Project Suriname’ topple Warriors?

Defending Trinidad and Tobago Pro League champions, DIRECTV W Connection, returned from a Suriname tour unbeaten today after exhibition matches against a Suriname XI and Inter Moengotapoe on Boxing Day and December 27 respectively.

Jerrel Britto scored against the Suriname XI team in a match that was tied at one goal piece after regulation time. And the “Savonetta Boys” emerged 3-2 winners in the subsequent penalty shootout.

Photo: Defence Force defender Rodell Elcock (left) dives in to block a shot from W Connection attacker Jerrel Britto (centre) while Defence Force captain Cory Rivers looks on. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force defender Rodell Elcock (left) dives in to block a shot from W Connection attacker Jerrel Britto (centre) while Defence Force captain Cory Rivers looks on.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

While, on December 27, a goal in each half by Hashim Arcia and Surinamese winger Dimitrie Apai helped Connection to a 2-1 win over Inter.

Easily, the more intriguing contest was Connection’s opener against a Surinamese squad stuffed with players holding Netherlands passports and coached by former Ajax midfielder Dean Gorre.

Suriname left the Netherlands and became a Republic in 1975. However, the Suriname football body, the Suriname Voetbal Bond (SVB), has petitioned its Government to allow dual nationality to players with Suriname heritage who play professionally in Europe.

It would appear to be the populist decision. The 7,000-seater Andre Kamperveen Stadion in Paramaribo was sold out for the first time in this millennium as locals came out to catch a glimpse of the Suriname XI that comprised of several players from Greece and Romania first divisions and the Netherlands’ second division.

Europe football greats like former World Player of the Year Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert were all either born in Suriname or to Surinamese parents. And the SVB’s “Project Suriname” intends to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Photo: Former Holland legends Marco Van Basten (right) and Ruud Gullit attack in tandem.
Photo: Former Holland legends Marco Van Basten (right) and Ruud Gullit attack in tandem.

Despite the fanfare, the SVB’s exciting project got off to a mixed start as the assembled squad failed to crack a Connection outfit that defended competently and threatened on the counter attack. And, in the end, Connection prevailed on penalties.

“Winning or losing on penalties is not that important in my view,” said Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier, “the 90 minutes was more important to me and I’m very proud of them. Certainly I learned a lot about their character in this match.”

At present, Suriname is ranked 23rd in CONCACAF and 163rd in the world by FIFA, which is well behind the “Soca Warriors” who are fourth and 55th respectively. But the SVB hopes to make up ground quickly with the injection of foreign talent.

At the 2014 Caribbean Cup tournament, Jamaica, Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda all selected more than a few Europe-born players in their respective squads. The Warriors, for the second successive tournament, finished runner-up.

Photo: W Connection attacker Dimitrie Apai (right) takes on Police FC utility player Elijah Belgrave during a 2013/14 Pro League fixture. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection attacker Dimitrie Apai (right) takes on Police FC utility player Elijah Belgrave during a 2013/14 Pro League fixture.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

DIRECTV W Connection touring party: Julani Archibald, Aquil Sylvester, Terrance Lewis, Triston Hodge, Anslem Jackson, Mekeil Williams (Captain), Leslie Russell, Alvin Jones, Tremain Shayn Paul, Devaughn Elliot, Jerrel Britto, Neil Benjamin Jr, Dimitri Apai, Hashim Arcia, Keon Boucher, Aaquil Campbell and Shirlo Johnson.

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6 comments

  1. Representing Directv w.connection fc and trinidad and Tobago. ..and watching the flags of our team and country flying high next to the suriname national flag….boy were we proud..!!!

  2. So many good performances from our team …jerell britto in very good form, joel russell strong in partnership with mekeil Williams. ..having the team travel a day before the match no practice and then back to back games. ..sometimes its what u encounter as you go through a tough season …we had a squad of 17 because 6 of our players are with Trinidad U -20s, and gerrad williams and Kurt Fredricks were on injury the list…four players were out of the country due to personal commitments.. giving debut to a few younger players on such a big occasion away from home…shirlo johnson , Aquil campbell,tristan hodge….really proud , think about it lasana…we had 8 local players and 3 foreign players on our team..two kittians and a st lucian…and they made a sterling contribution

  3. Was impressed with the Surinamese team…especially as they just came together. ….they showed what quality they have as professional european players….believe me they had us working for every minute of the game lasana….it was a great experience for our young players…they got battered and realized if they want to go to that next level , what it will take, the hard work ….our players got a very good game and we were proud of how they reacted. the game could have gone anyway we had chances to go 2-0 to put it away from them but they also had opportunities to take the game away from us…our goalkeeper had an outstanding game as a result becoming a local celebrity…..lol…so to mekeil, neil benjamin, hashim arcia. I believe if the surinamese government do decide to grant them the dual nationality then Trinidad will have one more serious threat in the caribbean….and they were still missing a few players which were invited but unavailable. …we were also without half of our team so we were very happy for that Experience. also with the tour scheduled at Christmas time our players need to realise with this job you can be away at anytime. ..thats being a professional, so lots of positives. …lasana they had us chasing the ball for periods sometimes what we do to a few teams here, so also we learn the lesson of not giving the ball away easily. ..something our head coach stuart Charles fevrier always try to impress upon the boys…..wonderful trip. also after speaking to the president of the suriname FA we realize how serious things are getting in terms of plans for the development of their football facilities and youth program. he said that was the biggest crowd in 30 years and it gave them the quorum to move ahead and also it was the first time they tried to play football games at this time of the year…so lots of positives.

  4. So what did you think of Project Suriname, Earl? How good was that assembled team?

  5. Thanks savitri…season greetings to you and your family. ..