Fenwick calls on league and clubs to take advantage of final round climax

Connection-Central derby on Friday

 Central FC Head Coach Terry Fenwick receiving his Blue Waters February Coach of the Month  award from TT Pro League General Secretary Julia Baptiste. Fenwick also won the award in September.

Central FC head coach Terry Fenwick believes the current climax of the Digicel Pro League presents a great opportunity for the general public to get involved.

Central will tackle bitter-town-rivals W Connection from 8pm on Friday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Round Three Match Day Two. But Fenwick said the excitement is much more than Friday’s Couva-derby.

With three clubs – all chasing a top two finish this season - tied eight points behind long-standing leaders Connection in the final stretch, the Central coach predicts hot blooded affairs in remaining matches.

Title-favourites and former winners, W Connection, stands above the crowd with 37 points, and are chased by Central FC, debutants Point Fortin Civic, and former champions North East Stars – all with 29 points in second, third and fourth positions respectively.

"We’ve got such a fabulous end of season run-in," said Fenwick, a three-time league winning coach with former club, San Juan Jabloteh.

The Central coach said he would like to see the league and clubs work together on marketing the games, attracting crowds, and even gain further sponsorships through the excitement the final round is expected to produce.
Central FC teammates Rundell Winchester and Willis Plaza
"It’s possible to get good crowds. Something like this is good for the game. It’s great for our football, and it’s something we shouldn’t cork off. It’s an opportunity we shouldn’t miss.”

The 54-year-old former England international said he understands that there are major setbacks faced by the league due to the unavailability of stadia—such as the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium (still under repairs), and to a lesser extent, the Larry Gomes Stadium (without lighting) and the Hasely Crawford Stadium (due to other commitments).

But the Central coach believes that the best possible structuring of fixtures with ample time for promotion by clubs and the league, “and not just trying to get the season over and done with”, should improve attendances.

“When we get a game fitted in (suddenly), it doesn’t give us the time frame to generate enough interest to make such a big difference,” added the former Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur defender.

“As we’ve seen from Point (Fortin Civic), they started the season with a great following, about 5,000 people following them everywhere. It hasn’t gone as well as they would have anticipated (at this stage) although they are completely in the hunt (for the title).”

Fenwick said that clubs, such as Central "are doing" but admitted that more must be done in building better relationships with respective communities to help attendances.
W Connection 19 year old Suriname forward Dimitrie Apai (left), scored late to level his side 2-2 against Central FC on February 10 . At right is midfielder Joevin Jones
Looking ahead to his team's remaining Round Three Matches and challenge for a top-two finish, Fenwick stated in a press release by the club: "We have some massive games against Point Fortin (Civic) and North East Stars - the teams in form at the moment. We're very keen to move past the W Connection game on Friday, so that we can really focus on the big games ahead."

Connection and Central have met four times already this season. Central defeated the "Savonnetta Boys" 4-2  last October in a penalty shootout following a goalless semi-final round meet en route to lifting the First Citizens Cup.

But Connection fired back with a 1-0 Round One win in the league in December, and in the same month defeated the "Sharks" 6-5 in a penalty shootout in the Final of the FA Trophy after a 2-2 draw.

One month ago both sides met again, in Round Two of the league, and that contest finished 2-2.

Connection, also the winners of this season's Digicel Charity Shield and Toyota Classic, have conceded just one league defeat, totaling a mere two defeats in all competitions this season, while Central are presently boasting a 12-match unbeaten streak.

Fenwick, who snapped up six players—Ataulla Guerra, Willis Plaza, Yohance Marshall, Leston Paul, Sean de Silva and Samuel Delice—during the mid-season transfer window, added, "We’ve got all our players coming into good form at this stage.  We’ve got several top class players within the team mechanism, and they are starting to gel. The last transfer window we brought in six players. It took a little while for them to settle in regards to games. Now it appears that everyone is settled and we can face the third and final round from a position of strength."

North East Stars, meanwhile, will hope to take advantage of a 6 pm clash against San Juan Jabloteh on Friday at the Couva venue with a win, and put some added pressure on both W Connection and Central ahead of the second match of the double header.
 
On Saturday bottom of the table St. Ann's Rangers will tackle Police FC from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium in search of only their second league win of the season.

Digicel Pro League 2013/2014

Round Three Match Day Two

Friday 14 March

Ato Boldon Stadium

San Juan Jabloteh vs North East Stars—6 pm

W Connection vs Central FC—8 pm

 

Saturday 15 March

Larry Gomes Stadium

St. Ann's Rangers vs Police FC—4 pm