Central eye Montego Bay United as biggest challenge in Caribbean title defence

Rundell Winchester among Couva Sharks 20-man squad in Jamaica

​Central FC player Jamal Jack (#12) breaks free against Suriname's Inter Moengo Tapoe during the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship while teammate Nathaniel Garcia tries to provide support. (Courtesy Allan V. Crane/ Action Photography)

Wednesday 09 March 2016

Reigning Caribbean Club champions Central FC believes Jamaica’s Montego Bay United possess their biggest threat.

The “Couva Sharks” are in Jamaica, arriving Wednesday (today), to contest Group 3 of the 2016 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship at the Montego Bay Sports Complex against Cayman Islands team Scholars International SC on Friday March 11 and hosts Montego Bay United on Sunday March 13, with only the group winners advancing into the semi-final round.

Montego Bay United and Scholars United will open group play on Wednesday (today) against each other.

“I would go as far as saying that whoever wins the (Montego Bay versus Central FC) game in Jamaica, will go on to be the Caribbean champions,” said Central FC managing director Brent Sancho this week.

W Connection, another Trinidadian club that finished runners-up behind Central last season in the Caribbean final, have already secured their place in this season’s semi-final round after comfortably topping Group 1 hosted at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Trinidad in February.

The two semi-final round winners and the third-place winners will secure the three Caribbean berths at the 2016/17 Concacaf Champions League.

Trinidad and Tobago forward Rundell Winchester will mark his return to Central as part of the “Couva Sharks” 20-man squad for the group stage in Jamaica. The 22-year-old Winchester, who was loaned to United States outfit Portland Timbers 2 of the United Soccer League (USL) in 2015, has been included in the offence department that includes in-form Marcus Joseph, veteran Jason Marcano, 18-year-old Nicholas Dillon and 20-year-old Kadeem Corbin. (See below for full Central FC 20-man squad in Jamaica.)

Central, also the winners of last season’s domestic Digicel Pro League, First Citizens Cup, Digicel Pro Bowl and each round of the league, are currently top of the DPL, seven points ahead of their closest challengers, and on a 13-game unbeaten streak since December.

“The team is in great form,” added Sancho, a former Europe-based player and ex-Trinidad and Tobago international. “In fact, this is the best spell in the club’s 4-year history. Our preparation on the field has been good. Montego Bay United will be a tough test, but there is no point winning a trophy if you have an easy ride. I believe you have to beat the best to be the best. We will fly the flag for T&T in Jamaica and obviously we’re going there to win.”

Group 3 (Montego Bay Sports Complex – Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Wednesday March 9

Montego Bay United vs Scholars International SC

Friday March 11
Central FC vs Scholars International SC

Sunday March 13
Montego Bay United vs Central F

Central FC squad in Jamaica
Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams and Akel Clarke;

Defenders: Jamal Jack, Elton John, Andre Ettienne, Kevon Villaroel, Kaydion Gabriel and Samuel Delice;

Midfielders: Leston Paul, Sean de Silva, Darren Mitchell, Elijah Manners, Michael Yaw Darko and Nathaniel Garcia;

Forwards: Kadeem Corbin, Jason Marcano, Rundell Winchester, Nicholas Dillon, Mickaeel Jem Gordon and Marcus Joseph.

Brent Sancho (Managing director)
Kevin Harrison (Operations director)
Dale Saunders (Head Coach)
Stern John (Assistant Coach)
Kevin Jeffrey (Assistant Coach/Team manager)
Derek Khan (Team manager)
David Moses (Equipment manager)
Earl Walters (Masseur/assistant physiotherapist