St. Ann’s club to tackle Defence Force in Digicel Pro League 2015-2016 opener
Thursday 24 September 2015
New St. Ann’s Rangers head coach Angus Eve is hoping his side can pick up where they left off in the Digicel Pro League (DPL) last season with a 2-1 win over Defence Force.
It was the only win of last season’s DPL campaign for Rangers and it came during caretaker Ron La Forest’s one-month stint. The cellar-placed Rangers ended at an all-time low with just 5 points from 24 matches.
Now, five months later, and under recently installed head coach Angus Eve, Rangers will meet last season’s DPL third-place finishers Defence Force on Friday 25 September in the opening match of the 2015-2016 DPL from 6 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium—the same venue of their previous encounter.
The Round One Match Day One schedule will continue on Saturday 26 September with last season’s DPL runners-up W Connection hosting Police FC from 4 pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium and simultaneously at the Larry Gomes Stadium, North East Stars will welcome debutants Club Sando.
Also on Saturday, defending DPL champions Central FC will visit Point Fortin Civic from 6 pm at the Mahaica Oval.
The weekend fixtures will culminate on Sunday 27 September with neighbouring rivals Morvant Caledonia United and San Juan Jabloteh clashing from 4 pm.
Eve, 43, said he expects a vast improvement from Rangers, in contrast to last season, and is already happy with the progress he has seen during pre-season.
“When I came (to Rangers) I thought some of the guys lacked a bit of professionalism and commitment,” said Eve, who spent the last three seasons at North East Stars.
“But I’ve been working with them and I’ve definitely seen some sort of change in the attitude of the players.
“There are very young players here and they are very impressionable. I think once you give them a structure and get them to fight for each other, the group can perform to some degree that can show some respectability in the season.”
Looking ahead to Friday’s clash with Defence Force, Eve, a former member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, said, “We’ve been working on a number of things. We know Defence Force’s personnel. They have strengthened a bit and gotten a bit younger, moving on a lot of the old guards as you would say. But our preparation has been good. We’ll go on the information we have, and try to put something in place that we could spring a surprise on them.
“I was a soldier, so I know how they operate. Usually the bigger, stronger players are aggressive. The younger players usually have more pace and our team on average is Under 21, so clearly we’ll have to go on the side of pace. The fitness level of the team is very high. So we need to push ourselves as hard as possible, move the ball very quickly, and get in-behind (the opposition’s defence) as much as possible, and as soon as possible. That’s what we’ll have to do to give ourselves a chance against Defence Force,” ended the ex-San Juan Jabloteh assistant coach and ex-Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team coach.
During his three-season stint at North East Stars, Eve led the Sangre Grande club to the 2012 Toyota Classic and 2015 TTFA FA Trophy, while finishing the club in fourth, fifth and fourth in the 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 DPL season’s, respectively.
But Eve, Trinidad and Tobago’s most capped player, must be mindful that Rangers, who were edged 3-2 in Round One last season by Defence Force, were hammered 7-0 in Round Two by the army-coastguard combination.
Digicel Pro League 2015-2016
Round One Match Day One
Friday 25 September 2015
Hasely Crawford Stadium
Defence Force vs St. Ann’s Rangers—6 pm
Saturday 26 September 2015
Mannie Ramjohn Stadium
W Connection vs Police FC—4 pm
Larry Gomes Stadium
North East Stars vs Club Sando—4 pm
Point Fortin Civic vs Central FC—6 pm
Sunday 27 September 2015
Hasely Crawford Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United vs San Juan Jabloteh—4 pm