Central FC—now re-christened the ‘Hydrotech Central FC’—have undergone another revamp of their roster for the purpose of the Caribbean Club Championship. There are 13 new faces for the 2018 tournament, which serves as a qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League and Second Tier League competitions.
Former Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 midfielder Densill Theobald and full-back Jameel Neptune have both joined the “Couva Sharks” from 2017 Pro League champions North East Stars while the Club Sando duo of Tyrone Charles and Trevin Latapy and San Juan Jabloteh winger Nathan Lewis will also wear Central’s colours.
Among the other inclusions are the World Cup 2006 pair of Cornell Glen and Anthony Wolfe, former Sharks players Keron Cummings, Darren Mitchell and Javon Sample, Trinidad and Tobago international defender Carlyle Mitchell and Trinity College (Moka) midfielder Saleem Henry, who represented FC Santa Rosa in the TTSL last season.
Mitchell will captain the squad—which leaves for the Dominican Republic today—while Theobald was listed as vice-captain.
Wired868 understands that the players were given short-term contracts, which expire this month. Almost certainly, several of the current Central squad will line up with other clubs once the Pro League kicks off on an unspecified date in April and will effectively operate as rentals.
It is the second successive season that the Sharks have tried to take advantage of the different start dates of the regional and local competitions by using players in the Caribbean competition who have not worn their colours in the Pro League and probably never will.
Last year, Central added 12 foreign players to their roster from Europe, Africa and other Caribbean nations. However, they failed to defend their regional title or qualify for the Champions League while several foreigners complained that they were not paid.
The Sharks, who had a mid-table finish last season during which they sometimes could not field a full squad, qualify for the Caribbean tournament owing to their title success in the 2016/17 season. This year, they have modified their approach by selecting known commodities, including several past players.
The Pro League’s precarious financial situation and local clubs’ habit of not paying players during pre-season meant that Central were able to put together a talented cast, despite director Brent Sancho’s reputation for not settling his debts.
A notable absentee from the touring party is Central midfielder Sean De Silva along with former players Johan Peltier, Jem Gordon, Akel Clarke, Stephon Seepersad and Sean Bateau.
Wired868 understands that several of the members of that sextet will only suit up for the Sharks in the future when some concrete moves are made to clear off outstanding arrears.
Central open their Group B Caribbean Club Championship campaign against Jamaica’s Portmore United FC from 6pm on Wednesday at the Estadio Cibao in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Two teams from that group—which also includes Atlantico FC (Dominican Republic) and Racing FC (Haiti)—will advance to the semifinal round of the Caribbean tournament.
The Central staff is led by head coach Stern John, who took over the squad last season after the departure of Dale Saunders, and also includes Walt Noriega (assistant coach), Denise Govia (team manager), Saron Joseph (trainer) and Esmond O’Brien (equipment manager).
W Connection are the other Pro League representative in the regional competition and need a result to advance today when they tackle Dominican Republic’s Club Atlético Pantoja from 8pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Connection have been far less aggressive in the transfer window with Jabloteh and Grenada international utility player Kennedy Hinkson and former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team stand-outs Kadeem Corbin, Akeem Garcia and Kevon Goddard as their only notable signings.
Garcia and Goddard are both former Connection players who won the Pro League title with North East Stars last season.
Goalkeepers: 1.Javon Sample, 30.Montel Joseph;
Defenders: 3.Tyrik John, 5.Carlyle Mitchell (captain), 26.Trevin Latapy, 12.Taryk Sampson, 15.Kaydion Gabriel, 17.Anthony Wolfe, 22.Jameel Neptune;
Midfielders: 13.Rhondel Gibson, 24.Jules Lee, 18.Densill Theobald (vice-captain), 29.Jesse Joseph, 7.Saleem Henry, 27.Nathan Lewis, 9.Tyrone Charles, 10.Keron Cummings, 11.Darren Mitchell;
Forwards: 8.Cornell Glen, 19.Jason Marcano.
Goalkeepers: 18.Julani Archibald, 33.Jason Belfon;
Defenders: 16.Alvin Jones (captain), 5.Triston Hodge, 15.Jesus Perez, 2.Kurt Frederick, 26.Isaiah Garcia, 21.Ronell Paul, 30.Shaquille John;
Midfielders: 3.Gerard Williams, 6.Kevon Goddard, 8.Jameel Antoine, 19.Briel Thomas, 23.Kennedy Hinkson;
Forwards: 10.Dimitri Apai, 14.Quinn Rodney, 99.Marcus Joseph, 7.Akeem Garcia, 9.Kadeem Corbin, 17.Jevaughn Humphrey.
Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship 2018
(Sunday 4 February)
Arnett Gardens FC v Real Hope Football Academy, 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection FC v Club Atlético Pantoja, 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Friday 2 February)
Real Hope Football Academy 0, Club Atlético Pantoja 3 (Luis Espinal 35, Armando Maita 40, 59) at Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection 2 (Marcus Joseph 2, 13), Arnett Gardens 1 (Fabien Reid 61) at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Wednesday 31 January)
Club Atlético Pantoja 0 vs Arnett Gardens 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
W Connection 0, Real Hope Football Academy 1 (Jeudy Johnson 2) at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Wednesday 7 February)
Central FC vs Portmore United FC, 6pm, Estadio Cibao, Dominican Republic;
Atlantico FC vs Racing FC, 9pm, Estadio Cibao, Dominican Republic.
(Friday 9 February)
Racing FC vs Central FC, 6pm, Estadio Cibao, Dominican Republic;
Atlantico FC vs Portmore United FC, 9pm, Estadio Cibao, Dominican Republic.
(Sunday 11 February)
Portmore United FC vs Racing FC, 6pm, Estadio Cibao, Dominican Republic;
Atlantico FC vs Central FC, 9pm, Estadio Cibao, Dominican Republic.