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Topper tops: Wired868 selects its 2014/15 Pro League All Star team

Here comes the boom!

Photo: Central FC striker Wilis Plaza (centre) attempts a bicycle kick at goal during a Pro League contest against Defence Force. Looking on is Dave Long (right) and Curtis Gonzales. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC striker Wilis Plaza (centre) attempts a bicycle kick at goal during a Pro League contest against Defence Force.
Looking on is Dave Long (right) and Curtis Gonzales.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

St Ann’s Rangers apart, this Pro League season has been a thoroughly competitive one with many memorable individual performances.

Wired868 will again try to pick favourites based on consistency, number of games played and the awesome factor.

So, here is our senior Ruby Tuesday/Wired868 All-Star Team. You’re welcome!

Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC/Goalkeeper):

Adept glove work, sharp reflexes and accurate distribution are only a fraction of what Williams brings to the table. He might not wear the captain’s armband but his good cop-bad cop routine with Central FC defenders and referees could be used in management courses for shift supervisors across the country.

Not to mention the fact that, like Shaka Hislop before him, Williams makes goalkeeping look cool.

Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams makes one of three penalty saves against Don Bosco FC in the Caribbean Club Championship semifinals. Central won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams makes one of three penalty saves against Don Bosco FC in the Caribbean Club Championship semifinals.
Central won 3-1 on kicks from the penalty mark.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Kaydion Gabriel (Central FC/Right back):

Central FC’s own energiser bunny. He has only played at right back for about a year and a half, but this converted winger has adapted quickly with his tireless running and aggression.

He has a bright future once he continues to learn his trade and adds muscle.

Weslie John (Point Fortin Civic/Defender):

John can sometimes go unnoticed alongside the magnetic personality of his captain, Andre Ettienne. But he is a solid defender. Mobile, aggressive, decent on the ground and fair in the air too. He did an excellent job this season.

Photo: North East Stars attacker Kennedy Hinkson (right) tries to outrun W Connection defender and captain Mekeil Williams during the 2015 Pro Bowl quarterfinals. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: North East Stars attacker Kennedy Hinkson (right) tries to outrun W Connection defender and captain Mekeil Williams during the 2015 Pro Bowl quarterfinals.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Mekeil Williams (W Connection/Defender):

‘Splash’ sometimes let himself down in the past with the occasional decisive error. He was more focused this season and a true leader for the “Savonetta Boys.”

Trinidad and Tobago has some bright talents available in central defence at the moment. But Williams can be as good or better than any of them.

Ross Russell Jr (Defence Force/Left back):

There is a shortage of left backs at the moment and few stand-out performers. Russell is an attacking winger who was asked to take on this role due to squad injuries and he caught the eye with his positive body language and effort. An awkward customer to face.

Photo: Central FC Marvin Oliver (right) is presented with a Ruby Tuesday gift as Wired868's Player of the Year by Wired868 director of operations Lou-Ann Sankar. North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw will also be honoured as Wired868's Young Player of the Year. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC Marvin Oliver (right) is presented with a Ruby Tuesday gift as Wired868’s Player of the Year by Wired868 director of operations Lou-Ann Sankar.
North East Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw will also be honoured as Wired868’s Young Player of the Year.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Marvin Oliver (Central FC/Midfielder):

At 39, Oliver is old enough to be father of more than a few Pro League players. And he is happy to school them.

He started the season at sweeper back under Zoran Vranes, so as to preserve his legs. But that turned out to be an underestimation of his powers.

Oliver’s understanding of the tempo of the match, his eye for the pass and his ability to spot problems early, made him indispensable to Central’s title winning season.

And that made the evergreen Rastafarian the Ruby Tuesday/Wired868 Player of the Year!

Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars/Midfielder):

He has been compared to a young Khaleem Hyland. He isn’t quite there yet; because Hyland was, frankly, a phenomenon as a teenager. Still, Hackshaw is improving at an impressive rate and has showed a range of abilities this season—whether as a midfield anchor or box-to-box player.

Enjoy watching him while he is in the Pro League. He shouldn’t be here too long.

Photo: North East Stars defender Dwane James (far left) prepares to haul back W Connection striker Jerrel Britto (second from left) while Stars players Kaashif Thomas (far right) and Keryn Navarro look on. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: North East Stars defender Dwane James (far left) prepares to haul back W Connection striker Jerrel Britto (second from left) while Stars players Kaashif Thomas (far right) and Keryn Navarro look on.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Jerrel Britto (W Connection/Right wing):

Simple and unassuming, Britto was an unsung hero this season. But where would Connection be without his pace, alertness and, most of all, finishing prowess?

Britto is uncapped at senior international level and there is no clamour to change this at present. Perhaps a solid performance at CONCACAF Champions League level might change that.

Ataulla Guerra (Central FC/Playmaker):

Guerra can drift from spectacular one minute to disinterested the next. But he is the Pro League’s most gifted player and the opponent everyone fears.

Quick, tall, strong, skilful and able to shoot with both feet, Guerra looks something created in a lab. But he is yet to hit the heights of other local legends like Arnold Dwarika, Aurtis Whitley and even Kerwin “Hardest” Jemmott.

Still, he cruised into our all-star team in that bewitching way of his.

Photo: Central FC attacking midfielder Ataulla Guerra (second from right) takes on the entire Caledonia AIA defence during a Pro League match. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC attacking midfielder Ataulla Guerra (second from right) takes on the entire Caledonia AIA defence during a Pro League match.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Jason Marcano (Central FC/Winger):

Two weeks ago, this position might have gone to his teammate Darren Mitchell or North East Stars’ Keron Cummings. But Marcano’s form at the business end of the season was inspiring.

His unorthodox running style and voice—imagine Mariah Carey with a sore throat—sometimes masks the facts that

very effective player. A good dribbler, accurate crosser and hard worker.

Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force/Striker):

The Pro League’s answer to Alan Shearer. Jorsling is strong, simple and effective. He holds up the ball for teammates, wins fouls or spins away from defenders to unleash havoc with his left foot bullets. He can deliver a mean set piece too.

There is nobody with a Trinidad and Tobago passport that you would want to see shoot at goal more than this soldier boy.

Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (right) holds off St Ann's Rangers defender Seon Thomas in Pro League action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (right) holds off St Ann’s Rangers defender Seon Thomas in Pro League action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

And the next best things:

Cleon John (North East Stars/Goalkeeper):

Very capable, reliable and an excellent leader.

Akeem Benjamin (Central FC/Defender):

‘Battery’ is a risk taker, which can lead to him into problems. But he has good feet for a defender and he is improving every year.

Photo: Central FC midfielder and captain Leston Paul (right) runs at North East Stars players Keryn Navarro (left) and Taryk Sampson during the 2014 First Citizens Cup final. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder and captain Leston Paul (right) runs at North East Stars players Keryn Navarro (left) and Taryk Sampson during the 2014 First Citizens Cup final.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Keryn Navarro (North East Stars/Defender):

‘Mr Versatile’—Navarro can do a job anywhere across the backline or even in midfield. Another unsung hero.

Todd Ryan (Police FC/Midfielder):

His eight Pro League goals was bettered only by Marvin Oliver in his position. Strong as an ox and shoots like a mule. Ryan is always a handful.

Photo: Central FC midfielder Darren Mitchell (right) tries to outrun Police FC midfielder Kaaron Foster in First Citizens Cup semifinal action in Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC midfielder Darren Mitchell (right) tries to outrun Police FC midfielder Kaaron Foster in First Citizens Cup semifinal action in Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Darren Mitchell (Central FC/Winger):

He got the worst of his coach’s tinkering in the latter stages of the season but often made an impact off the substitutes’ bench as well. Mitchell’s pace, energy and spirit would be an asset to any team. The sky is the limit if he is able to produce a more consistently accurate final pass.

Keron Cummings (North East Stars/Playmaker):

One of the Pro League’s most entertaining “Number 10s.” ‘Ballpest’ is an eye-catching dribbler who is blessed with a tremendous left foot strike. He deserves a chance to show what he can do on the international stage.

Photo: W Connection attacker Hashim Arcia dances around a Montego Bay United player during the Caribbean Club Championship semifinals. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection attacker Hashim Arcia dances around a Montego Bay United player during the Caribbean Club Championship semifinals.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Hashim Arcia (W Connection/Playmaker):

‘Lord Arcia’ probably drinks water in a champagne glass. His soft touch and appreciation for angles makes him seem as if he is playing a refined game than most of his opponents. Always worth the price of admission.

Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic/Attacker):

A gem of a player. Mobile and aggressive with a left foot shot that many millionaire footballers would kill for. The upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup could be the making of him.

Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (centre) prepares to drive past Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette (left) while defender Jibiri McDavid looks on in the 2015 Pro Bowl semifinal. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (centre) prepares to drive past Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette (left) while defender Jibiri McDavid looks on in the 2015 Pro Bowl semifinal.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Willis Plaza (Central FC/Striker):

Once a bustling utility player, Plaza has recreated himself into a pure forward. He strikes the ball as clean as a whistle and with little noticeable back-lift. Although he missed half of the season, he still gets into our team after his tremendous form in the past five months.

 

Editor’s Note: So what did you think of our list? And who do you think deserves to get in based on their performances throughout the season? Let us know…

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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16 comments

  1. Lasana you may have to pick an Administrators eleven just now, the way Earl Mango Pierre pushing for number one. Lol…..lol

  2. Thought Marvin was the best player on the finals too Lasana Liburd

  3. Hard truths Kirwin Weston. Hard truths 🙂

  4. Hard to leave out Plaza right now, the man bound to score…

  5. Oh gosh…yuh wrong to do J. Marcano that man Lasana.

  6. Thanks Brother Roland Jemba Hamilton

  7. I know that lady in the photo Lasana, Lou-Ann

  8. Jamal Jack definitely had a great end to his season. Keion didn’t play enough to be considered in my opinion.

  9. Might have wanted to create formation to include Plaza and Arcia. Keon Goodrige stood out for me at left-back – but fair enough on Russell Jr can’t say i payed keen attention to him, the 3 times Connection played Army in the league.

    Enjoyed the physicality of Jamal Jack & Andre Etienne defensive play also ha.

  10. Nice boys u all did well n will continue in gods name

  11. Great picks spot on with comments about Marvin, Jan and Rusell, maybe Britto will get an invite soon

  12. Oh yes Mr. Jomo I. Johnson he’s totally awesome. I’m yet to see someone touch him furthermore reach his standards. I enjoy reading his articles. I’m normally excited to read the match report after a match especially if I missed the game. Mr. Liburd brings the articles alive. Do continue to keep up the good work.

  13. Lasana Liburd i admire the fact u keep a high standard of work and keep producing consistently…cheers on another great piece

  14. Great piece!! Showcases our players beautifully!! Well done Sana the last sports reporter!