AIA, TTEC in final repeat
By JOEL BAILEY Friday, September 21 2012
CALEDONIA AIA, the defending champions, and TTEC FC, last year’s runners-up in the First Citizens Cup, will square off again today in the quarter-final stage of the 2012 tournament.
This match is carded to begin at 8 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on the heels of the North East Stars — St Ann’s Rangers meeting, the opening game of the double-header.
Another double-header has been arranged for the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, featuring W Connection against Police at six o’clock followed by the season’s debut of Central FC, who will be tackling Defence Force.
The semi-finals will be held on September 28 with the final on October 5.
Members of the teams, as well as some of the coaches and officials, exchanged some friendly banter during the tournament launch at the First Citizens Corporate Box, Queen’s Park Oval, Woodbrook on Wednesday.
Caledonia coach Jamaal Shabazz stated, “it was a problem to get back the trophy due to the supporters. I tried to get the Minister of National Security (Jack Warner) to go with me to get the trophy, but he (said) he don’t want (anything) to do with football.” Shabazz also said, in jest, “the next person I wanted to get was the Mayor of Port-of-Spain (Louis Lee Sing), but after the little bust-up between both of them, I’ve not been able to meet with him. So I had to get two soldiers and go and collect the trophy. So you see how tough it would be to part with the trophy.
“We look forward to the semi-finals where we will meet North East Stars or Defence Force,” he added.
TTEC captain Keeron Benito replied, “we’re ready to play right now. I don’t think TTEC is under any pressure.”
Angus Eve, coach of North East Stars, emphasised, “I make my statements on the pitch.
“All competitions are very tough,” added the ex-Trinidad and Tobago captain and midfielder. “People don’t give the Pro League the respect that it should get.” Like North East, Police has a new coach in Richard Hood, and Hood noted, “it’s not the greatest draw for us. Having said that, we have a lot of respect for W Connection, but it would be really good for us to make an extremely positive statement by beating them (today). So we’ll look forward to that.”
Renee John-Williams, daughter of Connection’s owner David John-Williams, stressed, “Connection is no stranger to the First Citizens Cup. We’ve won this trophy time and time again, and this year will be no different. We’re coming at Police to win. We’ve won the competition six times so that speaks for itself.” Defence Force’s assistant coach Marvin Gordon pointed out, “not knowing your opponent is a difficult thing. Myself and Ross (Russell, the team’s coach) will have to learn on the run (today).
“In our camp, we’re confident and I think this is the best bunch we have,” he added. “One thing I’m sure about, Defence Force will go down with a fight, all the time, as soldiers.”
Mikhail Awai, Rangers captain, made it clear that, “we are coming to play a football match and not talk in a conference. We have a lot of new, young players. We’ll still give people a good run for their money and anything could happen in this competition.”
Warren Sookdar, Chief Information Officer of First Citizens’ ICT Unit, commented, “This 11-year partnership has promoted the development of raw talent and as the only truly local bank, we are committed to enhancing our youth through their development in education and sport.”
He continued, “I must commend the TT Pro League for their efforts in finding innovative ways to improve football and for grooming our youth, not just into professional athletes, but well- rounded individuals.
“To all the clubs, your efforts also do not go unnoticed,” he added. “We recognise the hard work that you continue to put out in preparing these athletes to vie for the ultimate title.”