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‘Stallions’ bid to stop Connection

Friday, October 5, 2007
First Citizens Cup
Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA’s Marvin Oliver, centre, wins a header between Joe Public’s Arnold Dwarika, right, and Jason Springer in their T&T Pro League match at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya on Tuesday. Joe Public won 2-0. Photo: Angelo Marcelle

Be careful what you ask for, because you just might just get it.

Well that’s exactly what’s facing coach Jamaal Shabazz and his Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA players as they clash with four-time winners Vibe CT 105 W Connection in the final of the First Citizens Cup from 8.30 pm tonight.

The marquee ecounter, the feature match of a double-header takes place at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, and will be preceded by a third placed meeting between semifinal losers, three-time winner CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh and United Petrotrin from 6 pm.

Prior to his team’s 2-0 semifinal win over United Petrotrin, which he predicted, Shabazz boasted that his “Stallions” prefered a meeting with the “Savonetta Boys”.

He said: “I would love to play W Connection in the final because I love the beautiful way their play the game. It’s very similar to how we like to play.”

The “Savonetta Boys” granted Shabazz his wish as they battled past Jabloteh 2-1 in their semifinal. Whether or not their style proves too beautiful to contain before what is expected to be a large crowd, is left to be seen.

However, in Cup finals, it’s not always how pretty you play, but more importantly, getting the job done.

And with a huge cash reward on offer for the winner, both coaches may well scarifice their flambouyant style of football for a more tactical approach in the show-case match which carries a winners prize of $60,000 in addition to a spectacular crystal trophy.

Tonight’s meeting will be the second First Citizens Cup final encounter between both clubs, after W Connection won the 2001 match, 1-0.

Since then, both teams have gone in opposite directions with the “Savonetta Boys’’ reaching every First Citizens Cup decider thereafter.

W Connection lost both in the 2002 and 2003 final to Defence Force and Jabloteh, before they won over Defence Force (2004), Jabloteh (2005) and Economy North East Stars, 3-1 last year.

Caledonia, on the other hand, will be playing its first final since, and based on the history of local football, the neutral supporter will be wise to put his money on a victory for the Stuart Charles-Fevrier coached W Connection.

Charles-Fevrier’s men have won an impeccable 22 of 28 finals since graduating into a professional club from a ‘fete match’ team.

Shabazz’s men, meanwhile, have nothing to show during that period and will used the defeat in 2001 as motivation.

While history may not be on his team’s side, Shabazz will take into account that in their two meetings this season, Caledonia won 2-1, while the other was drawn 0-0.

The “Stallions” go into the match with injury concerns to key players who picked up knocks in a 2-0 league loss to bmobile Joe Public.

W Connection on the otherhand whipped Superstar Rangers 4-2 with a mostly second string line-up and with their seasoned campaigners well rested, another Cup triumph seems hours away.

The second place gets $30,000, third $20,000 and fourth $10,000 while the four losing teams in the quarterfinals will each get $5,000.


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