Category: W Connection

W Connection’s Neil Benjamin turns to new chapter; joins Vietnam’s Nam Dinh for first overseas move

Neil Benjamin Jr., right, and a Nam Dinh FC official proudly display the Vietnam V-League club's jersey.

W Connection must quickly adjust to life without Neil Benjamin Jr – beginning with the group stage of the 2018 Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship which begins next week – after the talented 23-year-old Savonetta Boys’ winger and last season’s Pro League top-scorer joined newly promoted Vietnam V-League outfit Nam Dinh FC on “a permanent deal.”

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to sign my first overseas contract and leave your home country and play for a different club,” Benjamin said via a Connection press release.

Great speed and ability to find the back of the net, Benjamin said he hopes to make a name for himself outside of Trinidad.

“I also want to do my part in helping my new team be successful this season and show them that they made the right decision in signing me. [I want to also] show that being from a small country in the Caribbean will not limit you [and] that once you put your mind to something and work hard towards it, you can achieve all your goals and more.”

Nam Dinh won the 2017 V-League 2 for promotion that returns them to the top-flight for the first time in eight years. Nam Dinh will kick off their 2018 V-League campaign on March 3.

Connection, meanwhile, 
are Group A hosts of the Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship. The multiple-time former Caribbean champions must tackle Haiti’s Real Hope FA (Jan. 31), Jamaica’s Arnett Gardens (Feb. 2) and Club Atletico Pantoja (Feb. 4) at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad.

Fellow Pro League outfit and two-time former Caribbean champions, Central FC, are pooled in Group B of the 2018 Caribbean Club Championship against Jamaica’s Portmore United (Feb. 7), Haiti’s Racing FC (Feb. 9) and hosts Atlantico FC (Feb. 11) at the Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Benjamin, who joined W Connection at age 7, progressed through the youth ranks before making his Savonetta Boys senior team debut at age 17 in 2011 and went on to win the 2011-12 Pro League title.

Connection via the press release said Benjamin has been an integral part of coach Stuart Charles Fevrier’s camp and that the player has shown throughout his years with the club a high level of discipline and commitment to being a true professional.

Benjamin, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at Under-17 and Under-20 levels, made his Senior National Team debut under coach Dennis Lawrence against Jamaica on August 24, 2017.


“I’ve been with W Connection since I was a little boy,” continued Benjamin. “(…) so being able to branch out and get more experience is a great feeling.

“I want to show to them that all the years they invested in me and helped in my development was worth it all. Though it may be a little difficult adapting to a new culture in a new country, and being away from my family and friends, I am thankful that my career is taking off and that this is just the beginning for me and what I am capable of.

“I want to thank W Connection for everything they have done for me on and off the field. From the coaching staff to the players and also the administrative staff behind the team. I also want to thank my family, friends and fans for all the love and support they have shown me throughout the years as they continue to support me as I embark on a new journey in my career,” ended the now, Nam Dinh player.
 
2018 CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship First Round Schedule
*Listed in ET

Group A (Trinidad)
Wednesday, January 31, 2018        
Club Atletico Pantoja (DOM) v Arnett Gardens FC (JAM), 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad;

W Connection FC (T&T) v Real Hope FA (HAI), 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad.

Friday, February 2, 2018        
Real Hope FA (HAI) v Club Atletico Pantoja (DOM), 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad;

W Connection FC (T&T) v Arnett Gardens FC (JAM), 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad.

Sunday, February 4, 2018
Arnett Gardens FC (JAM) v Real Hope FA (HAI), 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad;

W Connection FC (T&T) v Club Atletico Pantoja (DOM), 8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad.

Group B (Dominican Republic)
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Central FC (T&T) v Portmore United FC (JAM), 5pm, Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic;

Atlantico FC (DOM) v Racing FC (HAI), 8pm, Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Friday, February 9, 2018    
Racing FC (HAI) v Central FC (T&T), 5pm, Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic;

Atlantico FC (DOM) v Portmore United FC (JAM), 8pm, Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Sunday, February 11, 2018
Portmore United FC (JAM) v Racing FC (HAI), 5pm, Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic;

Atlantico FC (DOM) v Central FC (TRI), 8pm, Estadio Cibao, Santiago, Dominican Republic.