Milestone crowd expected when Pro League hits the Brian Lara Recreation Ground in Santa Cruz

​​Photo: ​Morvant Caledonia United defender Ordell Flemming, left, and Defence Force winger Jemel Sebro vie for the ball during their Digicel Pro League clash at the Morvant Recreation Ground on Sunday Nov. 6, 2016.

Thursday 24 November 2016

San Juan Jabloteh head coach Keith Jeffrey predicts the people of Santa Cruz will produce one of the biggest crowds in recent Pro League, one that could pale the record turnout at the Morvant Recreation Ground.

Jeffrey will lead his side against W Connection in a top-of-the-table Digicel Pro League clash on Friday from 6pm, when for the first time in the history of the PL, the Brian Lara Recreation Ground on Sam Boucaud Road in Santa Cruz will host top flight football.

The Santa Cruz venue is the latest community-based location to host PL action after the Morvant Recreation Ground, which currently boasts the best supporter turnout averaging between 2,500 and 3,000, and the Naparima College and Barataria Recreation Grounds.

“It’s long overdue,” admitted the Jabloteh coach, who qualified the San Juan Kingsfor next year’s CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers by finishing runners-up in the Pro League last season. “We can’t go wrong with Santa Cruz. I know what Santa Cruz can offer. Santa Cruz is a football and cricket community; it’s a sporting community.”

Jabloteh are currently one spot behind Connection in third on the DPL standings, with both sides on 16 points, while leaders and two-time defending champions Central FC are three points ahead on 19.

“It’s a good billing, just right for the people of Santa Cruz,” added Jeffrey. “We will surpass what Morvant had. The people (of Santa Cruz) are saying they intend to bring more than 3000 on Friday. So it could be in the region of 3,500-4,000 or more. That’s the kind of 12th-man advantage we will have over Connection.”
​San Juan Jabloteh technical director/head coach Keith Jeffrey.
Jabloteh have 5 wins, one draw and one loss after seven league games this term, like Connection who have a better goal-difference, and Jeffrey is targeting nothing less than three points against the visiting Savonetta Boys.

“It’s so important that we maintain being a top club by keeping in the top two,” he said. “And to be in the top two we must be able to beat Connection twice, and Central twice, and Friday is the start of the ambition.

“It’s all about 3 points, but we expect a hard game. They (Connection) are into some form, they are on a high and will be coming for points. But they also know we have been doing well also.”

Although thrilled to play in Santa Cruz, Jeffrey hopes, through the support of the Government and Local Corporation, Jabloteh, a club formed in 1974, can return to the Bourg Mulatresse Ground, which unlike the Barataria and Brian Lara Recreation Grounds, won't have intrusion during the cricket season.

“It’s one of the ground where it all started,” the Jabloteh coach explained. “It’s the area we designated and want to go back to. Bourg Mulatresse is the most centralised area to be Jabloteh’s home. It’s easy access for people from Lower Santa Cruz, Upper Santa Cruz, Maraval, Barataria, San Juan and all surrounding areas.

“It’s also the hometown of our most loyal supporters, most former Jabloteh players, and one of the founding fathers of the Pro League (and longstanding Jabloteh chairman), Mr. Jerry Hospidales.”
​​Morvant in full support during the First Citizens Cup quarter-final clash between Central FC and Morvant Caledonia United at the Morvant Recreation Ground on Sunday Nov. 13, 2016.
Jeffrey said it would be the fitting swansong for Hospidales, who currently serves as advisor to the Ministry of Finance and has served all Governments in the financial sector.

“Every time Mr. Hospidales talks, he always finish off with the Bourg Mulatresse Ground. Fix the ground in his honour. I know it will make him proud. He is a pioneer in football in Trinidad and Tobago. Hospidales and Wilfred Espinet (one of Jabloteh’s Directors) are the pioneers of the Pro League,” ended Jeffrey.

Upcoming fixtures
Digicel Pro League 2016-2017
Round One Match Day Eight

(Friday 25 November 2016)
Brian Lara Recreation Ground, Santa Cruz
San Juan Jabloteh vs W Connection—6pm

First Citizens Cup 2016
Semi Finals

(Sunday 27 November 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force—4pm
Police FC vs Ma Pau Stars—6pm

Digicel Pro League 2016-2017
Round One Match Day Eight

(Tuesday 29 November 2016)
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Club Sando vs Point Fortin Civic—6pm
Central FC vs St. Ann’s Rangers—8pm


Digicel Pro League 2016/17 standings

Rank

Team

MP

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Points

 

1

Central FC

7

6

1

0

16

6

10

19

 

2

W Connection

7

5

1

1

21

6

15

16

 

3

San Juan Jabloteh

7

5

1

1

16

8

8

16

 

4

Ma Pau Stars

8

4

1

3

12

10

2

13

 

5

St. Ann’s Rangers

7

3

2

2

10

9

1

11

 

9

Police FC

8

2

2

4

15

14

1

8

 

6

Club Sando

7

2

1

4

13

16

-3

7

 

7

Defence Force

8

2

1

5

7

15

-8

7

 

8

Morvant Caledonia Utd.

8

1

3

4

12

16

-4

6

 

10

Point Fortin Civic

7

0

1

6

5

27

-22

1