Central wraps up signing spree with midfielder Sean de Silva

Latest Central FC signing Sean de Silva (right) proudly displays his new shirt with the help of Central operations director Kevin Harrison

Central FC wrapped up a busy transfer window with the signing of 24-year-old Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Sean de Silva.

The transfer window, which ran between December 26 and January 24, saw
 the Terry Fenwick coached-Central snap up the likes of T&T internationals Ataulla Guerra and Willis Plaza, ex-T&T defender
Yohance Marshall, former T&T Youth World Cup player Leston Paul and Defence Force utility player Samuel Delice.

Now Fenwick believes the acquisition of de Silva, a former T&T U17, U20, U23 and Senior Team player, is “the final piece of the jigsaw”.

“It’s all about quality,” said Fenwick, a multiple-time Pro League winning at former club San Juan Jabloteh. “There are a lot of talented Trinis out there, but some people prefer to sign cheaper foreign imports. We have spent a lot of time and energy chasing down those talented local boys who have slipped off the T&T football radar.”

Central’s latest signings added to a cast that already included Marvin Oliver, Jason Marcano, Jamal Jack, Johan Peltier, goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams, Rundell Winchester, Elton John, Akeem Benjamin and Dwight Quintero, and can strike fear into any opponent, on paper at least.
Central FC coach Terry Fenwick
“This is an amazingly talented group of players that we have assembled,” said Fenwick, a former England and Tottenham defender.

“Everywhere I look (there) is quality, and now my selection problems will all be good ones!

“We don’t receive government funding, yet we’re aggressively recruiting T&T players of international standard to assist the national team.

“Every other team receives taxpayers’ dollars, yet they don’t carry out anything like the number of community projects that we do. And how many teams can boast that they regularly field a team totally comprised of local players?

“The stronger the national team becomes, the stronger our league will become. I’d love to bring in some decent foreign players, but they have to offer more than we can get from locals.”

Central FC managing director Brent Sancho explained, “Of course, money was an issue (in attracting players). We don’t have a huge budget so we can’t compete with salaries paid in the MLS (US Major League Soccer). But we explained to players that sometimes (they) need to step sideways to move forward.”

Central operations director, Kevin Harrison, said that himself, Sancho and Fenwick made it a club project to attract some of the players that represented T&T at the 2007 FIFA U17 and 2009 FIFA U20 World Cups and were no longer impacting the national teams.

“Brent showed these guys that a move back to the Pro League would allow (T&T Senior Team coach), Stephen Hart, a chance to see (them) on a regular basis,” said Harrison.

“Videos are ok, but a coach wants to familiarise himself with all aspects of a players’ game. Crucially, the cameras follow the ball, while the coach wants to see what the player is doing when he’s not in possession. Players will usually touch the ball for less than 60 seconds in a game and the cameras will cover this. (But) a coach wants to see what the player does for the other 89 minutes.”

But de Silva’s arrives at the Couva club in a time of much needed points.

Central, winners of the 2013 First Citizens Cup last October, are positioned fifth on the Digicel Pro League standings, with only 14 points, as does sixth positioned Caledonia AIA. Both teams are less than half the amount of points earned by runaway leaders DIRECTV W Connection (32 points).

Three points ahead of Central are second positioned North East Stars, third positioned Point Fortin Civic, who they drew goalless against last Saturday, and fourth positioned Police.

Central failed to pick up maximum points in their last three outings, although boasting a four-match unbeaten streak.

The “Central Sharks” will next meet Police FC on Saturday from 5 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium and de Silva who last represented North American Soccer League (NASL) outfit Minnesota United after his time at Charleston College, where he represented the Cougers, is eager to hit the pitch in the Pro League.

“I felt this was the right time for me to come back home and make my Pro League debut,” said de Silva, who represented Dion La Foucade Coaching School and St. Ann’s Rangers at youth club level.

“I’m focused on gaining more national appearances and I need to remind coach Hart of what I can bring to the table.”

He is also looking forward to teaming up again with his former T&T youth captain Leston Paul, and believes that they can both contribute to the national senior team and future World Cup ambitions.

“Leston is a superb player,” added de Silva. “I’d like to think that he and I could build a partnership that can carry over to the national team. We are both young enough for the next two World Cup campaigns and I know that coach Hart is looking ahead to Russia 2018 and Dubai 2022.”

Digicel Pro League 2013/2014
Weekend Fixtures
Friday 31 January 2014
Hasely Crawford Stadium

St. Ann’s Rangers vs Defence Force—6 pm
San Juan Jabloteh vs Caledonia AIA—8 pm

Saturday 01 February 2014
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin

Point Fortin Civic vs W Connection—3.30 pm

Ato Boldon Stadium
Police FC vs Central FC—5 pm