Caledonia eyes Digicel Pro Bowl loot

Veteran Caledonia AIA forward Conrod Smith, second from left, is congratulated by teammates (left to right) Keyon Edwards, Nicholas Mercano and Nathan Lewis, after scoring his side’s third goal during a 3-3 draw with W Connection in the semi-final round of the 2015 Digicel Pro Bowl at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 May. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)
Issued on Thursday 28 May 2015

Caledonia AIA head coach Jerry Moe explains that the Morvant-Laventille club have all eyes on the $100,000 prize when they tackle high flying 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League (DPL) and 2015 Caribbean Club champions Central FC in the final of the 2015 Digicel Pro Bowl from 8 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday 29 May.

“We are not focused on what Central have achieved and where they are at the moment,” said Moe. “All we know, is that we are in a final and there is a $100,000 winners’ prize. We want to win the game to take the $100,000 that’s on offer. The winner takes all and there is nothing for the losers. No room for losers so we must just focus on winning.”

Caledonia, Pro Bowl winners in 2008, were unsuccessful in a top half of the DPL finish this season although they once occupied third place before the Christmas break but eventually finished eighth on the nine-team standings.

The Morvant-Laventille side also failed to standout at this season’s First Citizens Cup, which Central also won, and the Toyota Classic (won by San Juan Jabloteh) and FA Trophy (won by North East Stars) competitions.

But redemption is present in the 2015 Digicel Pro Bowl, after climbing from the qualifier match against St. Ann’s Rangers (2-1) and all the way to Friday’s final.
Caledonia AIA utility player Nicholas Mercano (#26) celebrates with teammates after scoring his kick from the penalty mark against W Connection in the semi-final round of the Digicel Pro Bowl on 15 May. Caledonia won the penalty shootout 5-4 after a 3-3 regular time draw. (Photo: Allan V. Crane /www.ttproleague.com)
Caledonia edged Point Fortin Civic 1-0 in the quarter-final round before ousting defending champions W Connection 5-4 on penalty kicks following a 3-3 semi-final draw to meet Central in the final.

Meanwhile Central edged Defence Force and Police FC 1-0 in the quarter-final and semi-final rounds, respectively, with both goals scored by forward Willis Plaza.

“Winning the Pro Bowl final will be a huge boost for our confidence going forward for next season,” continued Moe. “It is the last game of the season and once we give everything we have for the ninety minutes, we stand a good chance at winning the game. We have been improving since near the end of the league and the growing confidence has spilled over from the league into the Pro Bowl.”

Moe said the being without the services of Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 midfielder Densill Theobald, who joined India top tier league side Royal Wahingdoh, Dominica international forward Julian Wade, and defenders Taylor Benjamin (Guyana international), Rogelio Robinson (Panama) and Cristoper Mejia (Honduras) since the December break, contributed to Caledonia’s underperformance this season.
Central FC forward Willis Plaza (#33) prepares a strike during his team’s 2-0 win over Caledonia AIA in Round Three of the 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League on 10 March. (Photo: Allan V. Crane / www.ttproleague.com)
Now Caledonia, standing in what could be the Morvant-Laventille side’s highest paying match, are against the in-form Central FC, who have defeated Moe’s men 3-1, 1-0 and 2-0 in Round One, Two and Three, respectively, of the DPL this season.

Central’s dominance this season also includes the Rawle Fletcher, Akeem Adams and Kevon Carter trophies for winning each of the three rounds of the DPL.

“Obviously we are the underdogs,” said Moe. “We have played Central before this season and while they have won all, the matches were very close. They aren’t much better than us and once our attitude is right, then we are quite capable of winning (on Friday).”

Preceding the 2015 Pro Bowl final, the Under-17 teams of Central FC and Caledonia AIA will clash from 6 pm at the Port of Spain venue, with their Round Two Match Day Three fixture of the 2015 Malta Carib Youth Pro League providing a teaser for the main event.