First Citizens Cup 2017: Central seek quarterfinal date with rivals W Connection

Photo: Central FC midfielder Sean De Silva, foreground, and Defence Force left-back Aklie Edwards vie for the ball during the 2016/17 Pro League season.

Central FC, the two-time former First Citizens Cup champions, are hoping to get past MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers in Wednesday’s Play-off Round to reach the quarterfinals of the 2017 First Citizens Cup where the winners will meet record seven-time champions, W Connection.

Central are against Rangers from 6pm, kicking off the Play-off double-header at the Couva venue before Police FC tackle Point Fortin Civic from 8pm for the final spot of the quarterfinals against last season’s runners-up North East Stars.

Stars, Connection, Club Sando, reigning champions Defence Force, San Juan Jabloteh and Morvant Caledonia United, by virtue of their positions 1-6 respectively on the Pro League standings after Round Two Match Day Two, earned automatic places in next weekend’s quarterfinals, while Central, Police, Civic and Rangers, due to their placements in descending order at the bottom of the 10-team PL standings, were pitted to contest the Play-offs.

In the already determined quarterfinal match-ups by the seeded draw, Club Sando will take on Morvant Caledonia in the first match of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium from 6pm on Friday before Defence Force and Jabloteh lock horns in quarterfinal two from 8pm.

North East Stars will contest the Police/Point Fortin Civic winners on Saturday from 3:30pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium. And on Sunday, Connection and the Central/Rangers winners will battle from 3:30pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

The semi-finals are carded for October 20 before the competition culminates on November 3 with the final and third-place matches as teams vie for a share in the new “Where Winners Reign” prize structure.

“It’d be fantastic for us to get our hands on the title again,” said Central FC captain and midfielder Sean De Silva during last Wednesday’s official launch of the 2017 First Citizens Cup at First Citizens Corporate Headquarters at Queen’s Park East in Port of Spain.

De Silva said the Couva Sharks have themselves to blame, having to contest the play-offs for a quarterfinal spot. But optimistic, the 27-year-old Trinidad and Tobago midfielder said, “It might be a good thing in that maybe we can grow on our first game and take that momentum into the game which would be W Connection once we get a good result against Rangers.”

Central, the historic three-peat Pro League champions of last season, are at an all-time miserable low without a win in their last ten games in all competitions including a shock 1-0 league loss against Rangers on Jul. 14, a disappointing exit from the FA Trophy, losing 2-0 against Morvant Caledonia United on Sep. 16 in the preliminary round, and most recently a 6-0 flogging in the league against current leaders North East Stars on Sep. 22.

“Obviously it has been a difficult season for us in terms of success but we’re confident we still have the players to get the job done [in the First Citizens Cup].

“Right now I think we are rebuilding the vibes all around the camp. I think it’s been a lot better in the past couple days especially after a very tough last game …obviously that would [be] a blow to your confidence, but I think we have done really well in rebuilding that.

“Right now the league is very tight in terms of the standard of all the teams and I think every game is going to be a tough game. This season the league is probably as competitive as it has been in many years.”

The 2013 and 2014 First Citizens Cup stands among an impressive cache of titles won by Central, a club founded only five years ago. Other major titles include the Caribbean crown 2015 and 2016 positioned among the 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 Pro League champions’ trophies won by the Couva Sharks.

“Every tournament has the same importance for Central FC as it should for any club should want to be as successful as they can,” De Silva said. “We definitely want to do well if not win the [First Citizens Cup] tournament.”

First Citizens Cup 2017
Play-off Round
(Wednesday 11 October 2017)
Central FC vs MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers, 6pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;

Police FC vs Point Fortin Civic, 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium.

Quarterfinal Round
(Friday 13 October 2007)
Club Sando vs Morvant Caledonia United (C), 6pm, Ato Boldon Stadium;

Defence Force vs San Juan Jabloteh (D), 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium.

(Saturday 14 October 2017)
North East Stars vs Police FC/Point Fortin Civic (A), 3:30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium.

(Sunday 15 October 2017)
W Connection vs Central FC/St. Ann’s Rangers (B), 3:30pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

Semi-Final Round
(Friday 20 October 2017)
A vs D = M
B vs C = N

(Friday 3 November 2017)
Loser M vs N
M vs N