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Connection seek improved season

Friday, February 6 2009

W CONNECTION are seeking to improve on their fortunes from the 2008 local football season, where they only claimed one title — the First Citizens Cup, and finished as the runners-up in three events — the Pro League, the Lucozade Sport Big Six and the FA Trophy.

“This year we want to do better,” said Connection’s coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier. “We (fell) second in three competitions, winning just one (trophy) last season and that’s not where we want to finish.

“We always have big ambitions as a club. We want to win everything,” he continued.

Charles-Fevrier had a few screening sessions recently but the ex- Trinidad and Tobago coach pointed out that there have not been any signings thus far.

“We are not yet ready to sign anyone,” said Charles-Fevrier. “We are still looking. Our team is a young one and we will be starting the 2009 season with most of the players from last season.”

The Brazilian midfield pair of Jose Luis Seabra and Ronaldo Viana will not be among those players starting the forthcoming season. Seabra, a naturalised Trinidadian, will join the technical staff as an assistant coach while Viana will rejoin the squad midway into the season.

Caledonia AIA coach Jamaal Shabazz has decided to look towards the team’s reserve and youth players to upgrade his first-team squad ahead of the 2009 season.

The 2008 FA champs and Courts Pro Bowl title-holders team has lost the trio of midfielder Hayden Tinto, goalkeeper Michael Woods and Guyanese centre-back Howard Lowe, who have all joined Joe Public.

“We will be digging into our youth systems this season,” said Shabazz. “Our youth systems have produced great players in the past and we can confidently announce that our squad will be mostly made up of players coming through our ranks.”

Caledonia, who finished fourth last season, will not be having an influx of Guyanese internationals in their ranks.

“We have a couple of Guyanese players with us still like Walter Moore and (captain) Charles Pollard,” noted Shabazz. “But this season we will have less Guyanese players because we are going to look to our youth systems.”

The ex-Guyana coach revealed that the club is struggling to find a home- base to conduct their pre-season training sessions.

“We are hoping to have the Morvant Recreation Ground added to that of the St George’s College Ground that we will be using for training this season,” he said. “We are down because of the (financial) crisis we face but we are not out. We will do everything to stay alive.”

And Joe Public, the “Eastern Lions”, are also in the transition mood, as they released a number of players during the off-season, including ex-national players Arnold Dwarika, Gary Glasgow, Lyndon Andrews, as well as Shane Calderon, Dexter Thornhill, Marcelle Francois, Kerry Noray, Silas Spann and the Jamaican trio of Christopher Harvey, Roen Nelson and Wolry Wolfe. Ex-Joe Public and national central defender Derek King, who took over from Barbadian Keith Griffith as the team coach in October, will continue in his position this year, as the team will be seeking to atone for their results last season, whereby they failed to gain any silverware.

“I feel that I am capable to compete against the top coaches in the League,” said the 28-year-old King, who retired from active football in 2006 due to a knee injury.

Team captain and another ex-TT player, defensive midfielder Dale Saunders, will also serve as a player/coach while former national goalkeeper Daurance Williams, who was displaced as CLICO San Juan Jabloteh’s first choice keeper by Cleon John, joining Tinto, Lowe and Woods as Joe Public’s off-season additions.

“We have moved away from some of our older, experienced players and now we are working on bringing in some younger talents in our squad,” King stated.

“This role will be a stepping stone for me to greater things and I am going to prepare the best team of fresh players along with some experienced ones and we will be a very competitive bunch.”

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