Connection welcomes back Shahdon Winchester while pressing to preserve excellence

Shahdon Winchester

After dominating the year 2013 calendar year, W Connection, naturally, wants to maintain good habits in 2014, but the currently undefeated 2013-2014 Digicel Pro League leaders must first overcome defending champions Defence Force from 8pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday night.

Connection head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier will have in his artillery, striker Shahdon Winchester, after completing the player’s registration this week.

The 22 year old forward will represent Connection for the next two months before heading back to Finland’s FF Jaro – the club he represented on loan last season and has already signed for the upcoming Veikkausliiga, which is the premier football league in Finland.

“Shahdon has been in our club since young and have always contributed in a meaningful way,” said Fevrier on Thursday. “He is a quality player and we welcome the time that he will be here with us. “

But Fevrier reminds that his squad has done extremely well, even in the absence of Winchester in 2013.

The St. Lucian born coach added, “Football is on the day and we have always done well because I’ve always tried to concentrate on a squad. I always try to keep my squad ready, and make every player know that they are important in the squad.”

Looking towards the resumption of the league, the Connection coach said, “Friday is our first game since the break and I know players take a little time for get back into it. But we want to start the recommencement with a win. That’s very important for us.

“At the moment we are at the top of the league and our intention is to try and stay there. And we are aware that everyone wants to take that position.

“Defence Force is a team you must respect given their track record and the amount of times they have been on top in local football. And on Friday it’s a game that we will definitely have to be at our best for.”  

Last year Connection lifted the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and Digicel Pro Bowl titles, during the second and third stages of the 2012-2013 season, and also qualified for the group stage of the Concacaf Champions League along with fellow TT Pro League compatriot Caledonia AIA, after topping its group in the Caribbean qualifiers.

W Connection teammates (L-R) Neil Benjamin Jr, Joevin Jones and Christian Viveros

Also in 2013, Connection successful defending its Digicel Charity Shield title by defeating Defence Force 4-2, and celebrated the Toyota Classic and FA Trophy titles; all in the first stage of the 2013-2014 season.

But that’s not all. Connection are undefeated after seven matches in the Digicel Pro League; winning their first six matches before dropping points in a goalless draw against Caledonia two weeks ago.

Caledonia will kick off the resumption of the league on Friday from 6 pm, following the Christmas break, in a bottom-half of the table contest against Point Fortin Civic, in 6th and 7th positions respectively with 9 points each, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, followed by the Connection (19 points) and third positioned Defence Force (12 points) clash.

Caledonia struggled at the beginning of the season; hence their position, but technical director/head coach Jamaal Shabazz remains hopeful of a strong finish in the 2014 leg of the season.

“I think we are very enthusiastic for the start of the second half of the season,” said Shabazz. “We have put in a lot of work and we look forward to finishing strong.

“Of course we know Point Fortin Civic is a very talented team, but we are going with a good level of confidence, knowing that we made sacrifices over the holidays to keep ourselves in good shape.”

Caledonia are yet to announce any signings for the December/January window, and would definitely label the move by former midfielder Ataulla Guerra to Central FC, a big loss.

Guerra, who was out of contract following a loan spell at Finland’s Rovaniemen Palloseura (RoPS) from Caledonia last year, was snapped up by the Central head coach Terry Fenwick. While St. Ann’s Rangers’ defender Dwane James and talented midfielder Kerron Cummings, have both completed moves to San Juan Jabloteh and North East Stars respectively.

Round One Match Day Nine fixtures this weekend will run into Saturday, with fifth positioned North East Stars (10 points) hosting bottom of the nine-team table St. Ann’s Rangers (3 points) from 3.30 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium. And on Sunday fourth positioned Central FC (11 points) will face eight-positioned San Juan Jabloteh (6 points) from 5 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, while second positioned Police FC (13 points) are on the bye.

Digicel Pro League 2013-2014

Round One Match Day Nine

Friday 3 January 2014

Hasely Crawford Stadium

Caledonia AIA vs Point Fortin Civic—6 pm

Defence Force vs W Connection—8 pm


Saturday 4 January 2014

Larry Gomes Stadium

North East Stars vs St. Ann’s Rangers—3.30 pm


Sunday 5 January 2014

Hasely Crawford Stadium

Central FC vs San Juan Jabloteh—5 pm