N/E Stars and 'Central Sharks' set for battle in First Citizens Cup title match

North East Stars defender Glenton Wolfe, right, holds off a challenge by Central FC forward Dwight Quintero during a Digicel Pro League match last season.
Thursday 30 October 2014

Central FC captain Leston Paul believes that the "Sharks" have what it takes to defend the First Citizens Cup (FCC) when they tackle North East Stars in the Final on Friday 31 October from 8.15 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

But as Central stands ready and focused on defending the title, which stands as the club's first ever domestic trophy, Sangre Grande-based North East Stars are hoping to dethrone the "Sharks" and lift the First Citizens sponsored title for the first time.

And with an incentive of $100,000 for the winners, Friday's FCC Final should surely be an interesting one.

"We want to dethrone them (Central)," Stars veteran defender Keryn Navarro told www.ttproleague.com this week. "Our guys are up for it."

Just as Central, North East Stars journeyed to the 2014 FCC Final needing kicks-from-the-penalty-spot wins in both the quarter-final and semi-final rounds.

The "Grande Stars" defeated Caledonia AIA 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final before edging San Juan Jabloteh 4-3 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in the semi-final round.

"We are really hungry (for a title)," said Stars head coach Angus Eve following his team's semi-final win over his former employers Jabloteh.

"We haven't won anything since the first season I took over at North East Stars (in 2012) and last season we left with nothing although having a respectable 2013-2014. The goal this season is to win at least two Cups and qualify for the Concacaf Champions League, so this is definitely where we want to be today."

Central meanwhile defeated Point Fortin Civic 3-2 on penalties in the quarter-final round following a 1-1 draw before overcoming Police FC 3-1 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in the semi-final round last Friday.

And in the lead-up to Friday's Final, Central played to a 1-1 draw against reigning Digicel Pro League champions W Connection in a rescheduled Round One Match Day Two league fixture on Tuesday at the Couva venue.

“It has been difficult for us with so many games in a short period of time but I think mentally we should be buzzing for Friday," explained Central FC's Leston Paul.

The former Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup captain added, "It’s a Final (on Friday) and we want to win every title that’s up for grabs. It's very positive for us at the moment but we are not taking anything away from North East Stars, a very good team, but I think we have what it takes to go out and win the game on Friday."

But according to Stars' 31-year-old hard-tackling Navarro, the pressure is on the defending FCC champions.

"They may be motivated being the defending champions but the pressure is really on them to try and defend their title."

Navarro explained further, "This Final is very important for us to win. We have a relatively young team with players that will be playing in a Final (at this level) for the first time. And we also have players that have never won a Final."

Prior to the FCC Final on Friday, Central Football Association (CFA) clubs Harlem Strikers and Cunupia FC will face each other from 6 pm at the Couva venue.

First Citizens Cup 2014 Final
Friday 31 October
Ato Boldon Stadium
Central FC vs North East Stars—8.15 pm

Central Football Association (CFA) Match
Harlem Strikers vs Cunupia FC—6 pm