TT Pro League duo, W Connection and Caledonia AIA will be hoping to set up an all-local Caribbean Football Union Club Championship Final on Thursday at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella when semi-final matches takes place on Tuesday(today) at the same venue.
In the first semifinal, Caledonia, third place finishers in the Pro League this season and winners of three titles will come up against United Soccer League club, Antigua Barracuda from 6 pm.
Two hours later, four-time (2001, 2002, 2006 & 2009) CFU Club Championship winners and reigning Pro League champions, W Connection faces two-time defending CFU Club champions, Puerto Rico Islanders.
The semifinal winners will meet in final at the same venue on Thursday at 8 pm and secure places in the CONCACAF Champions’ League while the third place finisher will earn the all important third and final qualification spot to the Champions League.
Caledonia AIA and its coach Jamaal Shabazz will be seeking to reach their first ever CFU Club Championship final in three attempts and qualify for the CCL.
Caledonia has already won the T&T Football Federation FA Trophy, First Citizens Cup and Lucozade Sport Goal Shield but wants to put all that behind them because the most important thing is to qualify for the CCL.
Caledonia held Islanders to a 0-0 draw and trashed Cayman Islands side George Town FC 5-0 to qualify as the runner-up in the second round group stage while Barracudas advanced by topping its group with wins over Suriname’s Inter Moengotapoe (3-0) and W Connection (2-1) after a 0-0 draw with Haiti’s Victory.
However, the Antiguans, coached by Englishman Thomas Curtis, are on a four-match losing streak since beating W Connection, inclusive of back to back defeats against Orlando City Lions in the US PRO division.
Against Caledonia, Barracudas will look to Tamarley Thomas (two goals), Englishman Matthew Aldred (one goal) and former Pro League players, George Dublin, Ranja Christian and Peter Byers (one goal) to get them to the final.
Meantime W Connection coach, St Lucian-born Stuart Charles Fevrier has set his sights on a fifth CFU club crown and is keen to maintain his team’s perfect record of two wins in two matches against Islanders.
But the former T&T national coach was quick to admit preparation for the tournament has been difficult.
“It’s been difficult trying to get practice matches and remain focus as our season ended close to two months ago.
“Despite that we have tried our best under the circumstances and we will enter the match with Islanders very optimistic about our chances,” added Fevrier.
The last time W Connection and Islanders faced off in the competition was in the 2009 final, which the T&T team won led by a double from Dominican Republic striker Jonathan Fana Frias, who leads his current team, Islanders, with three goals.
His Islanders’ teammates include T&T duo, defender Osei Telesford and midfielder Justin Fojo, former W Connection striker, Jamaican Nicholas Addlery and Guyana’s Gregory Richardson a former Joe Public striker.
W Connection defeated Victory (2-0) and Moengotapoe (6-0) led by Wincheseter (two goals) and Hashim Arcia (four goals) in the second round group stage to reach the semifinals as runner-up to Barracudas but has not played a competitive match since May 10, the 2-1 loss to the group winners.
Islanders, meanwhile, was blanked 2-0 by San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday and its coach Adrian Whitbread said his team needs to react and focus for its clash with the T&T club.