Couva Clásico: Central and W Connection renew rivalry in top of table clash

Fevrier, Vranes push to improve DPL title hopes
Central FC forward Willis Plaza, left, and W Connection fullback Alvin Jones pictured battling for the ball during a DPL clash last season.
Thursday 5 March 2015

Current Digicel Pro League leaders Central FC and second placed DIRECTV W Connection, arguably the best two teams in Trinidad and Tobago at present, will be on show from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday 6 March as the race for the 2014-2015 league championship continues on the final stretch with Round Three Match Day Two.

Fourth placed Point Fortin Civic (26 points) will kick things off at the Couva venue from 6 pm against third placed North East Stars (29 points), while at the Marvin Lee Stadium sixth placed Play Whe San Juan Jabloteh (23 points) will tackle cellar placed St. Ann’s Rangers (1 point) from 6 pm, and fifth placed Defence Force (26 points) are against seventh placed Police FC (20 points) in a battle of the armed forces from 8 pm.

Central (38 points), winners of this season's First Citizens Cup, and Rawle Fletcher (DPL Round One) and Akeem Adams (DPL Round Two) Trophies, stands at the summit, five points ahead of Couva-rivals and reigning DPL champions W Connection (33 points), who have eight games remaining, one more than the “Couva Sharks”’ seven.

But while both teams’ coaches are certain that a win for either side will increase the winners’ chances at the 2014-2015 DPL championship, Friday’s match won’t decide the title.

“If we win [against W Connection] we are in very good position,” said Central FC’s Serbian head coach Zoran Vranes. “But it wont decide the title. We already got a lesson in the second round [losing matches against Defence Force and Jabloteh].”

“I don’t believe it will decide the title,” echoed W Connection head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier, who steered his side to league titles during the PFL (2002 & 2001) and in the Pro League (2005, 2011-2012 & 2013-2014). “All eight games that we have in the round will be important for the deciding of the league title.”

The two powerhouses have already met three times this season, with Connection edging Central, led by debuting coach Zoran Vranes, 1-0 on September 20 to lift a third consecutive Digicel Charity Shield. But the “Savonetta Boys” were held to a 1-1 draw in Round One of the DPL on October 28 before losing 1-0, with the winner scored by Willis Plaza, in Round Two on January 23, as Central tied the head-to-head.

“I think football is on the day,” continued Fevrier, who led W Connection to a feat of five titles last season. “In the modern game I don’t think any team is unbeatable. We have a good chance of winning the game as Central. It will be an interesting game that could go either way. Our objective is to have it go our way.”

With nearly half his squad under the age of 21 this season and the team at somewhat of a transitional period, Fevrier still believes his current squad can retain the DPL title.

“We have a squad that is capable of retaining our league title and I will do every thing as coach to make our players believe in themselves because I believe they can do what is required. This season is a kind of transitional season for us with fifty percent of our squad under the age of 21. But most of our players have been playing at a good level for the past two years.

“Now we want to turn them into winners because we are a team with a very good winning track record and we want to pass that on to our younger players.”
Ancilla Dick-Adams (front row, far right), the mother of deceased former Trinidad and Tobago footballer Akeem Adams, is pictured with Digicel (Trinidad and Tobago) marketing executive Zindzi-Renee Williams (front row, second from left) and TT Pro League general secretary Julia Baptiste (front row, far left), to present winners Central FC with the Akeem Adams (Digicel Pro League Round Two) Trophy on March 3, 2015, at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya prior to kickoff against St. Ann's Rangers in Round Three Match Day One
Vranes meanwhile, wants to take Central a step further by winning the league title after a second placed finish posted last season under then coach, Englishman Terry Fenwick.

The Central FC coach said, “It will be a tough game as always against W Connection. But I believe in my players to do their best although we never know what could go wrong. It is tougher for them (W Connection) than for us. They need to win because of the points difference but if we play smartly I expect good result for us.”

Vranes said he is quite satisfied with the achievements of his club so far, although he is hoping to perfect the professionalism on and off the field while attempting to win the DPL championship and prepare the club for the upcoming Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship 2015, which is scheduled for April 13-20 and serves as the qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League, along with W Connection.

W Connection, Caribbean Club Championship winners in 2001, 2002 and 2009, and debutants Central, qualified for the 2015 CCL by finishing winners and runners-up in last season’s DPL.

Digicel Pro League 2014-2015
Round Three Match Day Two
Friday 6 March 2015

Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya
San Juan Jabloteh vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6 pm
Defence Force vs Police FC—8 pm

Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic vs North East Stars—6 pm
Central FC vs W Connection—8 pm

Caledonia AIA (bye)