Monday 7 September 2015
Recently installed Central FC head coach Ross Russell will have a third try, but his first with the “Couva Sharks”, at defeating W Connection for the Digicel Charity Shield on Friday 11 September from 7 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in the season-opening 2015 edition.
But Connection’s longstanding head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier has no intentions of releasing grip on the Charity Shield, which he led the “Savonetta Boys” to win in each of the previous three years.
The Charity Shield pits together the Digicel Pro League and Digicel Pro Bowl winners of the previous season. But both competitions were won by Central hence W Connection, the league runners-up, provide the opponents.
The winning team will receive $10,000 to be donated to a charitable cause of choice.
In 2012 and 2013 Fevrier guided the “Savonetta Boys” to 2-0 and 4-2 victories, respectively, over Defence Force, led by Russell back then, to win the Charity Shield. Then in 2014, Connection retained the title for a third consecutive time by edging rivals Central FC 1-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
“We definitely put value on the Charity Shield as it is among every title want to win,” said Fevrier. “It (Charity Shield) is important to us because it sets the tone for the season. It’s an opportunity to win something before the season starts and to help build confidence.”
Last season (2014/2015), the Charity Shield stood the only accolade for Connection while bitter town rivals Central went on to set a milestone. The “Couva Sharks”, a three-year-old club, won seven titles, among them the Digicel Pro League championship and Caribbean Club Championship.
Serbia-born coach Zoran Vraneš led Central from the start, winning each round of the Pro League to take the inaugural Rawle Fletcher, Akeem Adams and Kevon Carter trophies, and in the mix, the First Citizens Cup before he was surprisingly replaced near the end of the season.
His replacement, Englishman Terry Fenwick, picked up where Vraneš left off, to guide the “Couva Sharks” over the finish line to win the League crown ahead of Connection, the defending champions having to settle for second.
Connection also had to settle for second in the final of the 2015 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship when Central gloated as Caribbean champions.
Taunting their rivals even more, Central completed the domestic season by hoisting the Digicel Pro Bowl after defeating Caledonia AIA 4-1 in the final to win the title that was previously held by Connection and was one of five titles the “Savonetta Boys” celebrated in 2013/2014.
Russell, who only picked up duties as Central FC’s new head coach one month ago, said, “Central had a good record against Connection last season and I hope to continue that edge from the start [with the Charity Shield].”
Central and Connection are currently active in the 2015/2016 Concacaf Champions League and are two losses from two appearances in their respective Group matches against opponents that are well into their domestic season.
“The Charity Shield game will be competitive,” predicts Fevrier. “Both teams want to win and it. The local season hasn’t started but we are pleased that we were able to get a couple competitive matches in the Champions League ahead of the Charity Shield.”