Not for the first time, the Bankers Insurance Central Football Club is awash with tales of mismanagement, treachery and deceit.
Earlier this week, head coach Dale Saunders sacked former captain Marvin Oliver, who managing director Brent Sancho bizarrely threatened to fine on top of that, while goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams said he no longer wanted to be the club’s captain.
The Central organisation is like football’s answer to “Love and Hip Hop.”
But, despite all of that, there is certainly nothing wrong with the “Couva Sharks” on the field of play.
Central produced an impressive display of bite and attacking thrust last night, as the defending Pro League champions swatted aside Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh 5-0 in the second game of a double header.
Earlier, at the same venue, Morvant Caledonia United managed a second successive win as they downed an injury-ravaged Japs North East Stars team 3-1 to climb one place to seventh in the ten team standings.
It was Stars’ first loss under new coach Ross Russell and it might have been a costly one too, as striker Gorean “Ratty” Highley was ejected in the 72nd minute for violent conduct in an off the ball incident.
Highley is one of only two active players at the Sangre Grande-based club with more than two league goals from 14 outings this season.
His 20 year old teammate, Jomoul Francois, is the other; and he got Stars’ lone goal yesterday with a strike in the 25th minute that ultimately was no more than a consolation item.
There was a promising full debut for 15 year old Trinity College East student, Keshon Hackshaw, who might be a player to watch out for in the future. While teenager Reon Moore, who represented National Super League (NSL) team Guaya United in their 2-1 win over Matura ReUnited on the weekend, was recalled from loan and immediately pressed into action off the bench for Stars.
But the day belonged to the Morvant Caledonia veterans, as Akim Armstrong and Kareem “Tiny” Joseph both grabbed first half goals to cap assured performances alongside returning midfield anchor, Stephan “Wretch” David, who also excelled.
Young Guyana international striker, Pernell Schultz, closed the score summary with an 81st minute penalty kick, after Stars midfielder Neveal Hackshaw was penalised—probably harshly—for blocking a Joseph shot with his arm.
Central did not need the referee’s help, which was just as well since it was Rodphin Harris in charge.
There were just 18 seconds on the clock when the Sharks took their first bite.
Trinidad and Tobago international Ataulla Guerra, who was stationed at the tip of the four-man midfield diamond, played the ball into forward Jason Marcano, who deftly backheeled for Darren “Chucky” Mitchell to drive home first time with his weaker left foot.
It was child’s play. Jabloteh’s 10 outfield players had not even touched the ball yet!
The “San Juan Kings” are one of the most entertaining teams in the league and a joy to watch when they are on their day. Yesterday was not their day. But credit Central for that, as they harried, snapped and hustled at their opponents.
Jabloteh, who were without pacy winger Nathan Lewis, struggled to find a way around their spiky opponents or to relieve the incessant pressure.
Perhaps the surprise was that it took as long as it did before Central got their second goal.
Jabloteh goalkeeper and Grenada international Shemel Louison made two fine saves on either side of the halftime interval to keep out Marcano.
But Louison had no answer to a Marcus Joseph rocket from the edge of the area in the 63rd minute when Jabloteh were temporarily down to 10 players. Defender Aquil Selby had limped off the field for medical treatment and was subsequently replaced by Lincoln Burns.
Before the Bourg Mulatresse boys could regain their poise, Central plundered three more items in the next 10 minutes.
Mitchell broke down the left flank and squared for Nathaniel Garcia, who produced a controlled side footed finish in the 65th minute. Guerra curled home a neat free kick in the 72nd minute.
And, within seconds of his introduction off the bench, Sean De Silva banged in Central’s fifth goal in the 73rd minute, after being released by Marcano.
There was nearly a sixth in the 77th minute, as Jabloteh defender Adrian Reid—who was having a forgettable night—failed to cut out a Jem Gordon cross and Marcano spanked an effort off the bar.
If anyone deserved a goal, it was Marcano.
Keyon Edwards and Jamal Gay gave creditable performances for Jabloteh, as did Hinkson off the bench. But they could not resist the Sharks.
If only the defending champions’ performances off the field matched their endeavour and effort on it.
Central FC (4-1-3-2): 21.Jan-Michael Williams (GK); 15.Kaydion Gabriel (25.Elijah Manners 51), 5.Akeem Benjamin, 4.Andre Ettienne, 24.Kevon Villaroel; 22.Leston Paul (captain); 19.Nathaniel Garcia, 45.Ataulla Guerra (26.Jem Gordon 76), 11.Darren Mitchell; 7.Jason Marcano, 99.Marcus Joseph (8.Sean De Silva 72).
Unused substitutes: 30.Akel Clarke (GK), 2.Elton John, 6.Kerry Baptiste, 14.Nicholas Dillon.
Coach: Dale Saunders
San Juan Jabloteh (4-3-3): 30.Shemel Louison (GK); 4.Garth Thomas, 21.Aquil Selby (3.Lincoln Burns 65), 24.Adrian Reid, 15.Jerome Isaiah McIntyre; 11.Damian Williams (captain), 8.Keyon Edwards, 13.Fabian Reid (23.Kennedy Hinkson 46); 14.Sean Bonval, 9.Brent Sam (12.Jordan Devonish 68), 7.Jamal Gay.
Unused substitutes: 35.Andrew Durant (GK), 16.Kaashif Thomas, 19.Dominic Douglas.
Coach: Keith Jeffrey
Referee: Rodphin Harris
Man of the match: Jason Marcano (Central FC)
Pro League results
(Wednesday January 27)
St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Trevin Latapy 65), W Connection 2 (Jomal Williams 26, Tristan Hodge 52) at Larry Gomes Stadium;
Morvant Caledonia United 3 (Akim Armstrong 2, Kareem Joseph 18, Pernell Schultz 81 pen), North East Stars 1 (Jomoul Francois 25) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC 5 (Darren Mitchell 1, Marcus Joseph 63, Nathaniel Garcia 65, Ataulla Guerra 72, Sean De Silva 73), San Juan Jabloteh 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Friday January 29)
Point Fortin Civic v Defence Force, 6 pm, Mahaica Oval;
Morvant Caledonia United v Club Sando, 6 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
Central FC v Police FC, 8 pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
(Saturday January 30)
St Ann’s Rangers v San Juan Jabloteh, 3.30 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium;
(Sunday January 31)
North East Stars v W Connection, 3.30 pm, Larry Gomes Stadium.