Alvin Jones predicts tough Mahaica trip for W Connection in First Citizens Cup

​W Connection players during a training session in August 2015 in Mexico for a CONCACAF Champions League clash with Mexico’s Santos Laguna. (Photo courtesy W Connection facebook account)

Thursday 15 October 2015

W Connection captain and utility player Alvin Jones believes it’s time the six-time champions lift the First Citizens Cup (FCC) again.

The Stuart Charles-Fevrier coached-Connection last won the FCC in 2008, completing a five-time consecutive haul of the title they first won in 2001, and even nicknamed the title the “W Connection Cup”.

But six seasons empty handed of the FCC is not acceptable by Connection standards according to the 21-year-old Jones.

“We, the players, are approaching this tournament with a great deal of responsibility because the First Citizens Cup is very important to our club,” Jones told www.ttproleague.com this week. “It’s time Connection are First Citizens Cup champions again.”

The “Savonetta Boys” will face Point Fortin Civic from 6:30 pm on Saturday at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin in day one of the quarter-finals following a 4 pm kick-off between St. Ann’s Rangers and tournament-newcomers Club Sando at the same venue.

“It’s never easy to beat them (Civic) down there,” admitted Jones. “It’s always a derby when Connection are against them. It will not be easy but we (Connection) must all put our best forward to get (into the semi-final round).”

​Point Fortin Civic head coach Leroy DeLeon. (Photo: www.ttproleague.com)

Meanwhile Civic head coach Leroy DeLeon dismisses the existence of full home-advantage to his side.

“When I was playing it was an advantage,” said the 67 year-old former US-based player between the late 60’s and early 80’s. “In my time playing at Mahaica we acted like professionals. This was like coming into our house that we ruled. We prepared well, ate well, rested properly before games like true professionals.

“It’s not the same mentality in the players now but that’s what we are trying to teach them.”

However with that aside, DeLeon, the Trinidad and Tobago legend who was inducted in the T&T Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, believes that Saturday’s FCC quarter-final double-header, which will culminate under the floodlit Mahaica Oval, will be enjoyable and called on football supporters to attend.

“We (Civic) are almost a brand new team compared to last season,” explained DeLeon who took over as caretaker last February after the club parted ways with another home-grown former talent, Reynold Carrington.

DeLeon’s appointment saw an immediate turnaround in results however only a fifth-place finish in the 2014-2015 Digicel Pro League was achieved, 22 points away from champions Central FC.

“We are not going to lie down to any team,” continued the Civic coach. “We expect a good performance from Connection. We can’t guarantee a win because that’s how football is, but we will give everything in our effort.

“Decided at our board level, is that we are putting a young team to build for the future, but in the meantime we don’t intend on being the floor mat of the league… we are not going to be the floor mat of the league.”

Goalkeeper Miles Goodman, Kern Peters, Nedeon Noel, Corey Cyrus and Kerwin Stafford were among a few unfamiliar faces DeLeon utilised against Central in a 3-0 loss in Round One Match Day One of the Digicel Pro League 2015-16 on September 26 at the Mahaica Oval.

“We had jitters in our opening game with a few players playing at this level for the first time and we allowed 3 soft goals to Central,” the Civic coach said. “I think we fixed our defence, not that (other teams) can’t score, but it’s going to be difficult to score. I’m also happy with the mentality of our players believing they can win every game right now.”

​W Connection captain Alvin Jones (top row, extreme right) and teammates pose for a photocall during the group stage of the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League against Mexico’s Santos Laguna.

Alvin Jones, the son of former Trinidad and Tobago footballer Kelvin Jones and younger brother to Defence Force defender Marvin Jones and “Soca Warriors” and Chicago Fire player Joevin Jones, said he is committed in his role as player and captain in helping the “Savonetta Boys” overcome Saturday’s hurdle, against Civic.

“Last season we didn’t win any major titles and that’s not something we at Connection are comfortable with, because we are a big team in the country. So this season we want to change that even if it means being under a lot of pressure. I am willing to give my all and motivate the rest of my teammates to give their all in the process.

“We have a great young bunch of players, some of who have international experience at the Under-20 and Under-23 levels with Trinidad and Tobago and a few with senior team experience. I consider us a complete squad with the capabilities to do great things.”

On Sunday the FCC quarter-finals will shift to the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain when Defence Force, champions of 2002 and 2009, and Morvant Caledonia United, champions of 2011 and 2012, meet from 4 pm.

Then from 6 pm at the same venue, two-time defending champions (2013 & 2014) Central FC will face Police FC.

First Citizens Cup 2015
Quarter Final Round
Saturday 17 October 2015
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
St. Ann’s Rangers vs Club Sando—4 pm (QF 1)
W Connection vs Point Fortin Civic—6:30 pm (QF 2)

Sunday 18 October 2015
Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force—4 pm (QF 3)
Police FC vs Central FC—6 pm (QF 4)

Semi Final Round
Friday 23 October 2015
Winners QF 1 vs Winners QF 4
Winners QF 2 vs Winners QF 3

Final
Friday 30 October 2015

Qualifying Round results
Wednesday 30 September 2015 at the 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)