Category: W Connection

Concacaf Champions League: Connection adds Colombian trio; Caledonia wary of Mexico City

Concacaf Champions League: Connection adds Colombian trio; Caledonia wary of Mexico CityDIRECTV W Connection’s intent on making a bold statement in this season’s Concacaf Champions League has become more evident, with the latest additions being three Colombian signings, ahead of the club’s opening Group 1 match on Thursday against Panama's Arabe Unido at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium.

Meanwhile fellow TT Pro League outfit, Caledonia AIA, remains optimistic over its chances against Mexican powerhouse and Group 6 favourites, Deportivo Toluca, on Tuesday in the opening night of the 2013-2014 Concacaf Champions League.

“We are eager (and) we want this test,” Caledonia Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz told Wired868. “I am pleased with the ambition of the club to go to (a training camp in) Colombia for 10 days. We would not sacrifice so much if we did not think it was worth it.”

But he admitted that the altitude in Mexico City will present a big challenge, even though the Morvant/Laventille club prepared for the conditions with a training camp in Colombia.

The 27,000 seater Estadio Nemesio Díez Toluca stands 8,793 feet above sea level and provides huge difficulty for any visiting team.

“We fear the altitude more than the technical tactical capacity of our opponent,” said Shabazz. “While we have no illusions of grandeur, we take pride in the Soca Warriors’ performance against Mexico (and know) that proper organization and self-confidence can be key factors for success.

“So we will try to stay compact but not just defend without purpose. We want to win the ball and build our attacks. (But) here in Toluca the altitude is of monstrous concern.”

Caledonia squad includes; veteran midfielder and team captain Stephan David, Densill Theobald, Jamal Gay, Aubrey David, Andre Toussaint, Keyon Edwards, Nuru Abdullah Muhammad, Akim Armstrong, Kareem Joseph, Abdallah Phillips, Nathan Lewis, Argentine midfielder Miguel Alejandro Romeo, Marcus Ambrose, Antiguan defender Akeem Thomas and goalkeepers Glenroy Samuel and Grenadian Shemel Louison. New signings Noel Williams, 23 year old Montserrat striker Julian Wade and 25 year old defender Jamal Smith also made the squad along with Under 21 players Nical Stephens, Aaron Lester, Keiron Matthews and Keron Bethelmy.

W Connection Technical Director/Head Coach Stuart Charles Fevrier also utilized a number of Under 21 players in their Champions League roster. But snapped up three Colombians—21 year-old midfielders Yefer Steven Lozano Rubiano and Yhon Stiven Reyes Lopez, and 23 year-old striker Camilo Andres Ortega Diaz—during the club’s pre-season camp in the city of Cali, Colombia.

All three players are formally members of Club Deportivo Orsomarso which Connection defeated 4-2 in a practice match. Neil Benjamin Jr., Jerrel Britto, Silvio Spann and Jomal Williams each scored a piece as Connection rebounded from an opening defeat against America de Cali 0-2.

Connection then defeated Deportivo Cordoba 5-0, with goals by Benjamin Jr., Kurt Frederick, Andrei Pacheco, 25 year-old Brazilian striker Celio Guilherme Da Silva Santos and Joevin Jones. But were edged 2-1 by FC Florida in a final practice match in Colombia. The lone Connection item was scored by defender Mekeil Williams.

Da Silva Santos, formally of Gremio Anapolis, is another new Connection signing during the Colombia camp, while fellow countryman, 22 year-old right-back João Ananias Jordão Júnior on a six-month loan deal from Brazil's First Division outfit Clube Nãutico Capibaride and 24 year-old Italian striker Mirko Delia were penned-in prior to the South American trip.

Connection will depart Colombia on Tuesday for Panama ahead of Thursday’s clash against Arabe Unido from 10pm.

Connection named a 27-man squad inclusive of team captain Joevin Jones, Kurt Frederick, Gerard Williams, Daneil Cyrus, Da Silva Santos, Silvio Spann, Andrei Pacheco, Tremain Shayn Paul, Ortega Diaz, Devaughn Elliot, Hashim Arcia, Mekeil Williams, Mirko Delia, Julani Archibald, Leslie Joel Russell, Alejandro Figueroa, Aquelius Sylvester, Brendon Boucaud, Jordao Jr., Christian Viveros, Stefano Rijssell, Lozano Rubiano, Reyes Lopez, Jerrel Britto, Alvin Jones, Jomal Williams and Benjamin Jr.

Group 8: LA Galaxy (USA), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Cartagines (Costa Rica)