The engines of Couva based football clubs, DIRECTV W Connection and Central FC, can be considered revved, ahead of this weekend’s 2013 Toyota Classic Round of 16 which brings together the best seven (7) Super League clubs against the TT Pro League clubs.
Connection— two-time Toyota Classic winners (2005 and 2011) and present Digicel Pro League leaders—have been firing on all cylinders in the league championship with 5 wins in as many matches.
Meanwhile Central—third on the league standings with 8 points—are the recently crowned 2013 First Citizens Cup champions.
“Obviously we are over the moon in winning our first title in our short history,” said Central FC managing director Brent Sancho, following the Toyota Classic seeded-random draw on Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium VIP Lounge.
Two and a half weeks ago Central defeated Defence Force 2-1 in the Final of the First Citizens Cup at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Eventual MVP, Tobagonian Rundell Winchester set up an equalizing item scored by Dwight Quintero, before hitting the winner himself.
On Monday the 19 year-old Winchester added another piece of metal to his cabinet after being revealed as the Wendy’s Player of the Month for October.
But beginning on Friday, it’s an entirely new tournament, and a lot of fierce match-ups, as the nine (9) DPL and (7) SL clubs eye the Toyota Classic trophy. The winners will also receive $50,000 and $20,000 to the runners-up in the Final on November 29.
“As far as Central FC is concerned, every tournament is different, very game is different and every game situation is different,” Sancho continued.
“We have set goals at the start of the season and the Toyota Classic is one of them.”
On Friday Connection will host the Super League’s Real Maracas from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in a double header which will see SL leaders Club Sando tackle Police FC from 8pm.
“I’m sure that the inclusion of the Super League will make it interesting,” said W Connection assistant coach Earl Jean.
“We are not underestimating any team,” continued the former St. Lucia and W Connection forward, although looking well ahead to the Final.
“We have respect for the other teams. It’s true that we have won the tournament twice and we are very confident at the moment. We are on a good run and we are enjoying it. But it’s always difficult to maintain the standards that we have. We are expecting tough games, but we are confident that we can make it to the Final.”
Simultaneously at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Friday, 1976 FC Phoenix of the SL will meet defending DPL champions Defence Force 6pm, and from 8pm Caledonia AIA and St. Ann’s Rangers will meet in the only all-Pro League clash of the Toyota Classic Round of 16. Only last weekend Caledonia trashed the St. Ann’s club 6-1 in league action, and the Toyota Classic provides Rangers an early opportunity for revenge.
On Saturday, Toyota Classic action returns to the Marvin Lee Stadium, when Central takes on SL outfit Joe Public from 6pm, and SL’s third positioned Malabar FC against leading DPL goal-scorer Kerry Baptiste and San Juan Jabloteh from 8pm.
Earlier in the day, the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin is the venue for a 3:30pm kickoff between DPL second positioned Point Fortin Civic against the SL’s Stokely Vale.
And on Sunday, the Round of 16 comes to a close at another community field—the Guayaguyare Secondary School Ground—when home team and second positioned SL outfit, Guaya United, welcomes defending Toyota Classic champions North East Stars from 3:30pm.
“The Toyota Classic [allows us] to deal with teams outside of our league,” Sancho added. “The Super League has shown this season that they can not only compete on the field, but off the pitch in terms of what they have been doing with the crowd support. So we look forward to the challenges.”
2013 Toyota Classic
Round of 16
Friday 8 November
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Real Maracas—6pm
Club Sando vs Police FC—8pm
Marvin Lee Stadium
1976 FC Phoenix vs Defence Force—6pm
Caledonia AIA vs St. Ann’s Rangers—8pm
Saturday 9 November
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Point Fortin Civic vs Stokely Vale—3:30pm
Marvin Lee Stadium
Central FC vs Joe Public—6pm
Malabar FC vs San Juan Jabloteh—8pm
Sunday 10 November
Guayaguayare Secondary School Ground
Guaya United vs North East Stars—3:30pm
Quarter Final Round
Saturday 16 November
Sunday 17 November
Semi Final Round
Friday 22 November
Friday 29 November