W Connection hunts season-fourth title in Lucozade Sport Goal Shield

Players, GlaxoSmithKline Marketing Implementor Nicole Stroude-Sandiford (right of the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield) and TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene pose during Wednesday's launch of the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield.

Defending Lucozade Sport Goal Shield champions and two-time winners W Connection will open their defence on Saturday in the quarterfinal round against play-off winner between San Juan Jabloteh and St. Ann’s Rangers.

Aspiringly, the “Savonnetta Boys”, winners of this season’s Digicel Charity Shield, Toyota Classic and FA Trophy, are after a fourth title this term, separate from their ongoing league title ambition.

Jabloteh and Rangers, positioned at the bottom in eight and ninth respectively, must contest each other in a play-off from 4 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium on Thursday 3 April for the eight quarter-final round spot against the defending champs based on their present positions on the Digicel Pro League standings – which Connection continues to lead – after Round Three Match Day Five.

The quarter-final round kicks off on Friday 4 April at the Ato Boldon Stadium with Central FC against 2012 winners Caledonia AIA (QF B) from 6 pm followed by tournament-debuting Point Fortin Civic against two-time defeated Finalist, Defence Force (QF D), and will continue on Saturday 5 April at the very same Couva venue when W Connection tackles the winner between Jabloteh and Rangers (QF A) from 5 pm and two hours later (7 pm) 2010 winners North East Stars are against Police FC (QF C).

The competition continues at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday 11th April with the semi-final round, and end on Friday 25th April with the Final.

The match-ups as well as a $90,000 sponsorship by Lucozade Sport were revealed during Wednesday’s launch of the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield at Capital Plaza in Port of Spain.

“We are looking forward to defending the title,” said Connection defender Daneil Cyrus. “We aren’t looking at the three titles we have won already.”

Connection assistant coach and former striker Earl Jean said that his team wants to win everything and it has always been the ambition of the club.

Cyrus added, “Our players are really excited for this tournament. The Lucozade Sport Goal Shield is always an exciting tournament because of the prize and bonuses.”

This season's edition, the unique tournament, based on its cash for goals incentive, will see the winners take away an increased base prize, from $20,000 to $30,000 and $3,000 for every goal scored in the Final, $2,000 for every goal scored in the semi-final, and $1,000 for every goal scored in the quarter-final round.

While the runners-up prize structure pays out a $10,000 base amount and $1,500 for every goal scored in the Final, $1,000 for every goal scored in the semi-final, and $500 for every goal scored in the quarter-final round.

There are also cash incentives for the leading goal-scorer, most outstanding player, most outstanding coach, and the “Lucozade Sport Goal Pot” for spectators from the semi-final round.
GlaxoSmithKline Marketing Implementor Nicole Stroude-Sandiford (left) presenting the promotional sponsorship cheque to TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene during Wednesday's launch of the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield.
“Long may the partnership between Lucozade Sport and the TT Pro League,” said GlaxoSmithKline Marketing Implementor Nicole Stroude-Sandiford on behalf of her company. “(…) and may the 2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield tournament be as competitive and as successful as it has been since inception (in 2009).”

Speaking during Wednesday’s launch, TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene used the opportunity to express a recent thought.

“When it was released that Concacaf, the body responsible for football in the North, Central America and the Caribbean, is discussing the importance of a professional league in this region and the prospects which may emanate of it, I was forced to smile. Smile because since 2002, we in T&T had already realised this fact. Thank God for people like Jack Warner, Jerry Hospidales, David John Williams, Jamaal Shabazz, Darryl Mahabir, Richard Fakoory, some of the visionaries and entrepreneurs who saw through the looking glass before others did.

“Proverbs 29:18, ‘Without vision the people perish’, the League CEO continued. "These gentlemen had a vision for football, a vision for the youth, a vision for you, and a vision for Trinidad and Tobago utilising football as the medium.

“This League incorporated citizens from within the region, as well as outside the region. We have Stuart Charles Fevrier and Earl Jean of St. Lucia, Terry Fenwick and Kevin Harrison from England, former players Jose Luis Seabra, Gefferson Goulart and many others from Brazil, Charles Pollard from Guyana and many others including Jamaicans, a Japanese and right now we have Ralph Lundy from the United States. This an international league, with players and coaches getting the opportunity to ply their trade as professionals.

“People do not realise how important the TT Pro League is to society and to developing the youth and the sport of football. We must continue to be trailblazers leading the way in the region.

“We must continue to build the brand TT Pro League. It is ours. One of the ways in which we strategically meant to make the brand more exciting, youthful, and increase brand loyalty was through the hosting of the knockout tournaments. They are each designed with different features to create interest and build spectator awareness, interest, attendance and participation.

“The Lucozade Sport Goal Shield continues to contribute to the League achieving these goals and I pun on the word goals.”

Skeene, who also expressed gratitude to Lucozade Sport for their openness in embracing the concept, said he is confident that all the clubs will be going all out to dethrone the current champions W Connection.

He urged coaches and players to “suspend any prejudices and biases they may have and only think about and implement ways and plays to score goals”.

“Let your imagination run wild. Let your creative juices flow, be exciting, let the fans see the real you. Do not limit your imagination,” recommended Skeene.

2014 Lucozade Sport Goal Shield
Thursday 3 April
Larry Gomes Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh vs St. Ann’s Rangers—4 pm

Quarter Final Round
Friday 4 April
Ato Boldon Stadium
Central FC vs Caledonia AIA (QF B)—6 pm
Point Fortin Civic vs Defence Force (QF D)—8 pm

Saturday 5 April
Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs (winner San Juan Jabloteh/St. Ann’s Rangers) (QF A)—5 pm
North East Stars vs Police FC (QF C)—7 pm

Semi-Final Round
Friday 11 April
Ato Boldon Stadium

Winner A vs Winner D

Winner B vs Winner C

Friday 25 April
Ato Boldon Stadium