Jan-Michael: Central will defend the First Citizens Cup with ferocity

​Central FC’s starting line-up against MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy on September 23, 2015 in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Central FC captain and goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams has warned that the Couva Sharks will defend the First Citizens Cup with ferocity when they tackle rivals W Connection in the 2015 final on Friday from 8 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

The 31-year-old Williams told www.ttproleague.com this week, “The fact that it’s a title we really want to defend, it’s like we, the players, will protect our girlfriends, wives and close family members. We will defend it with a level of ferocity as well.”

For Central, the First Citizens Cup is “meaningful”—it being the club’s first ever title. The Couva Sharks won it in 2013 – in their second season of existence – then successfully defended it in 2014, and are now one win away from securing a treble.

Meanwhile Connection, the six-time champions, are hoping to lift the title they once nicknamed “The W Connection Cup” for the first time since 2008.

“I’ve heard the talk about the First Citizens Cup nicknamed ‘The W Connection Cup’ and that didn’t go down to well with the players at Central,” said Williams, a former FCC winner with Connection. “The trophy means a lot to us (Central). It was the first trophy we won as a club. It’s not something we are ready to let go of easily.”

Central, under new season-new coach Ross Russell, had to battle from the qualifier round this season due to the random draw, but advanced with a comfortable 4-0 win over North East Stars. The Couva Sharks then got past Police FC 4-3 on penalty kicks following a nervy 2-2 draw in the quarter-final round before ousting Club Sando 4-0 in the semi-finals.

​Central FC striker Willis ‘Great White’ Plaza pictured in this file photo against Don Bosco FC of Haiti during the semi-finals of the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship.

Striker Willis Plaza has been instrumental for Central, scoring 5 of his side’s ten regular time goals throughout the tournament.

Club Sando’s Kevon Woodley is second behind Plaza with three goals courtesy a quarter-final round hat-trick against St. Ann’s Rangers, while W Connection duo Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester and Central FC midfielder Marvin Oliver and are all tied on two goals.

Sando will tackle Morvant Caledonia United from 6 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in the third-place play-off with the winners taking away $10,000. The final will earn the FCC champions the prestigious crystal trophy and $110,000, while the runners-up will have to settle for the much lesser $20,000.

Connection displayed their confidence in this season’s FCC by defeating Point Fortin Civic 3-1 in the quarter-final then Morvant Caledonia United 3-0 in the semi-finals to reach the final.

However goalkeeper Williams believes that Connection will lack confidence against his side, Central, who have topped the Savonetta Boys with three wins and two draws in the last six meetings.

Williams’ belief is also tied to the fact that Connection have not defeated Central since 13 months ago in the 2014 Digicel Charity Shield.

Since then, of the five meetings, two of Central’s three wins included the Caribbean Club Championship final and this season’s 2015 Digicel Charity Shield, which were won by slim 1-0 margins.

​Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams (second from right) and his teammates (from left to right) Sean De Silva, Jamal Jack, Elton John and Jean-Luc Rochford share a cheerful moment.

“Football is always down to the day of the game,” said the Trinidad and Tobago international, Williams. “But I can say they (W Connection) won’t be too confident on Friday. They will never be confident coming up against Central. W Connection are tired of losing against us.

“But in saying that, they (Connection) have the experience in Stuart Charles Fevrier, one of the best coaches in the Caribbean if not the best.

“I must also mention (Connection attacking midfielder) Andre Toussaint being a former player at Connection and teammate of his. He is there imparting his knowledge on the rest of players and doing well himself. But playing against Connection and beating them at their best on Friday will be even more motivating for us.”

Last season Central captured seven titles, inclusive of four major trophies – Caribbean Club Championship, Digicel Pro League, First Citizens Cup and the Digicel Pro Bowl – and each of the three rounds of the league.

Williams explained, “Our objective is always improvement and in order to improve after seven titles we have to win it (First Citizens Cup)… we have to maintain and keep this title as well as others.”

On his team’s current nine-game undefeated run, Williams stated, “It’s an ongoing something. Coming off a stretch like last season and the high level games in the CONCACAF Champions League (Group stage). It’s evident in our performances.

“Also the new coach (Russell) has come in and understood his players quickly enough and are helping us in keeping the momentum,” ended the Central FC and T&T goalkeeper.

First Citizens Cup 2015 Final
Friday 30 October
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Central FC—8 pm

Third-Place Play-Off
Morvant Caledonia United vs Club Sando—6 pm

Semi Final Round results
Friday 23 October, at the Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection 3 (Shahdon Winchester 27’, Jomal Williams 28’, Andre Toussaint 90’+3) vs Morvant Caledonia United 0

Club Sando 0 vs Central FC 4 (Willis Plaza 22’, 64’, Jason Marcano 30’, Kerry Baptiste 90’+4)

Quarter Final Round results
Saturday 17 October 2015, at Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
St. Ann’s Rangers 1 (Rasheed Simon 60') vs Club Sando 3 (Kevon Woodley 46', 80', 90’+3')

W Connection 3 (Jomal Williams 5', Alvin Jones 9', Shahdon Winchester 56') vs Point Fortin Civic 1 (Glen Sutton 76')

Sunday 18 October 2015, at Hasely Crawford Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United 2 (Eugine Kirwan 37’, Akeem Roach 40’) vs Defence Force 1 (Richard Roy 90’)

Police FC 2 (Todd Ryan 42’, Keon Wilson 90’+) vs Central FC 2 (Marvin Oliver 48’, Willis Plaza 79’) (QF 4)
Central won the match 4-3 on kicks from the penalty mark
Police FC 3 Central FC 4
Todd Ryan (scored) Marvin Oliver (scored)
Jibri Mc David (scored) Willis Plaza (scored)
Clevon Mc Fee (scored) Leston Paul (scored)
Jasimar Ashers (off target) Sean De Silva (scored)
Kareem Freitas (saved)

Qualifying Round results
Wednesday 30 September 2015, at Hasely Crawford Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Tyrone Charles 58’, Rickcardo Harriott 90’) vs Defence Force 3 (Glynn Franklyn 53’, 66’, Jerwyn Balthazar 80’)

North East Stars 1 (Keron Cummings 40’) vs Central FC 4 (Marvin Oliver 2’, Sean De Silva 18’, Willis Plaza 69’, 90’+2)