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Joe Public want return to Pro League ‘glory days’

By STEPHON NICHOLAS Saturday, May 2 2009

click on pic to zoom in
JOE PUBLIC Football Club roaring for start of 2009 Pro league football season....
JOE PUBLIC Football Club roaring for start of 2009 Pro league football season....

DEREK KING, coach of Joe Public FC is targetting the 2009 TT Pro League season to return the club to its former glory days.

King, who replaced Barbadian coach Keith Griffith midway through the 2008 season, explained that despite a fifth place finish in the league, the season was not a complete disappointment.

He said the team enjoyed early success in the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League and many of their players attracted international attention including star striker Gregory Richardson.

The “Eastern Lions” defeated MLS club New England Revolution 2-1 in the preliminary round of the competition at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya and crushed their more esteemed rivals 4-0 away at the Gillette Stadium, Massachusetts to advance to the group stage.

Joe Public had a torrid time in the group phase, however, and apart from an impressive 1-0 win against Atlante in Cancun, Mexico, they lost all the remaining matches to be eliminated from the tournament with a last place finish in the group.

King is optimistic, however, that his team can build from the experience of playing against some of the region’s best teams and capture the TT Pro League for the first time since 2006.

“I feel we can challenge for the league and regain the FA Trophy and the Toyota Classic,” he said.

“We want to return to the days where Joe Public had almost ten players on the national team,” he added.

The “Eastern Lions” coach explained that he has created a squad capable of playing attractive football while still being able to beat their opponents.

He pointed out that once his team begins to play well and is successful in the league the football-crazy public will follow his team wherever they go to see them play.

Joe Public has made wholesale changes for the 2009 season, getting rid of a number of their veteran players including the play-maker Arnold Dwarika, striker Gary Glasgow, Lyndon Andrews and Kerry Noray.

As replacements, Joe Public have acquired a host of talent including ex- Caledonia AIA winger Hayden Tinto.

The tricky winger is known for his ability to get past defenders at will and should be a key figure in King’s plans for the 2009 campaign. Other signings were goalkeeper Durance Williams, Atiba Mc Knight, Conrad Smith, Akiel Guevera, Quincy Charles, Micah Lewis.

“I think last season our squad lacked depth so it was difficult to compete on more than one front,” King explained.

Dale Saunders will don the captain armband for the 2009 season and will also play an additional role as assistant coach.

“We have a number of good leaders in our team such as Keyeno Thomas who is a solid defender, so we expect good things,” King noted, “our preparation has been on par and the players are eager to start,” he added.

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