PFL October News
PFL September news
Tuesday October 31st, 2000
Concacaf Club tourney kicks off tomorrow

JOE PUBLIC will begin the defence of its Caribbean Zone Concacaf Club Football Championship tomorrow when they face Guinness Harlem Bombers of Dominica at CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya, in the first match of a double header, from 5 pm.

The other game will feature FC Sithoc of the Netherland Antilles and Robin Hood of Suriname from 7.15 pm.
Joe Public, Sithoc and Robin Hood are in Group One and they will play again in double-headers on Friday and Sunday at the same venue. Vibe CT 105 W Connection, the other Trinidad and Tobago team in the series, will travel to Antigua/Barbuda to take part in Group 3 action which also includes home side Empire FC and Harbour View of Jamaica. Group 3 games will be contested on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The winners of Group 1 and Group 3 will join the winners of Group 2 (Violette - Haiti, Paradise - Barbados, Roots Alley Ballers - St Lucia) - in the Caribbean Zone Final Group competition. The champions will come from that final competition, which will take place on December 6, 8 and 10 at a venue to be determined.

Group 1 fixtures:

TOMORROW: Joe Public vs Guinness Harlem Bombers (Dominica), 5 pm; FC Sithoc (N Antilles) vs Robin Hood (Suriname), 7.15 pm.

FRIDAY: Joe Public vs Robin Hood (Suriname), 5 pm; Guinness Harlem Bombers (Dominica) vs FC Sithoc (N Antilles), 7.15 pm.

SUNDAY: Robin Hood (Suriname) vs Guinness Harlem Bombers (Dominica), 4 pm; FC Sithoc (N Antillies) vs Joe Public, 6.15 pm.
Sunday October 29th, 2000

What Police can do

                            NFA series—Part VI


THE morning is fresh and bright. The smell of freshly cut grass is in the air and the policemen are frolicking.

Actually, it is a light round of practice at the St James Barracks. The game of small goal soccer is being played with the kind of enthusiasm and good cheer associated with winners.

“There is a lot of love with the North Zone team,” Jason Valley is saying.

“I feel more comfortable playing with players that have a love and understand one another.”

Valley, tall and slender, has had a chance to compare different environments, having spent an injury-plagued season in 1999 with Police’s squad in the Professional Football League.

And while the PFL members of the service may not be currently enjoying the best of times down at the bottom of the standings, Police’s Northern Football Association players have their opposition in grip.

Having already secured places in the zone’s League Cup and FA finals, Police are also chasing the Premier League title. They currently lead St Francois Nationals but have played one game more.

“The motivation with the North Zone team right now, it real, real high,” says assistant coach, manager and ex-player Clyde Denoon.

“We live as one unit, we do everything together. If anybody have a problem, we try to discuss it as a family.”

Valley has been an important member of that family this year.

While Police have benefitted from the contributions of other members of the squad with professional experience—the veteran Keith Scott and Kerry Franklin—it is the young brigade that has carried them. Talents like 20-year old, former Malick Secondary midfielder Fabien Garcia and Valley.

The 24-year old from St Thomas Village in Chaguanas has already scored 24 goals.

His form has been so good that Kelon Williams, one of the chief scorers last year when Police gained promotion to the Premier League from the Senior Division, has been unable to gain a regular First Team place.

“Players now have to fight for their positions,” notes Police Sports Club secretary Felix Denny.

Unlike most of their rivals in the NFA, the Police players have the real prospect of becoming professional league players soon, especially since their struggling pro team contains some older heads.

Football at the highest level after all, is what the Lawmen have become accustomed to.

Police have only been an NFA side since 1996/97.

But Valley does not plan to make NFA football a full-time career.

“I always dreamed of going out of Trinidad and playing football at a higher level,” he says. “I believe I have the determination and the discipline to make it out there.”

Valley feels he has the game too. Especially for England.

“It is more like play off and get in position to score and that is my style of football.”

A player who has played everywhere from striker to goalkeeper, once, Valley is not lacking in ambition. But for players like him in the NFA, upward movement is not only desirable; it’s necessary if they are to become national names and eventually buy a foreign ticket.

“If we are looking at our national team, there are very good players in the North Zone,” says Denny.

Valley, already with stints with Leeds, Central Hurricanes and Queen’s Park—in their semi-pro days—has been lucky enough to have a couple of national team work-outs.

But stresses Denny: “I think that the technical staff of the national team should come and look at players. Definitely they would get players with the ability, if not to make the national team, at least to call to trials.”

Trials. The NFA is full of them. They are of the kind to make the strong ones and break the weak.

And a certain kind of break is a not unlikely eventuality for players fighting for points on the Queen’s Park Savannah fields.

“The grounds in a mess in the Savannah,” declares Denoon. “It have no proper playing ground in the Savannah. None at all.”

Like many of his colleagues, the Police coach feels that the under-prepared, over-used surfaces on which the majority of the zonal matches are played do not contribute to improving the standard of play.

“Basically, you will get teams playing good like Queen’s Park, St Francois, Fire. And the rest of teams are mediocre. What I feel NFA should do, they should fix at least two of the grounds. You don’t have to fix all at one time.” Finance is almost certainly closely linked to the question of maintenance. As a zone, the NFA does not appear to have cash to spare.

Certainly, the teams do not feel their effort is worth the end reward.

Denoon wants to see that situation change.

“I feel we need to take cognizance of other zones,” he says.

“The Tobago zone, for example. I ent want to talk about money too much, but the prize for the North Zone, it way too small compared to the other zones. I think there are too many corporate sponsors not to get a sponsor.”

The Savannah Football competition, for example, will be played on many of the same grounds and by many of the same teams which now labour there in the NFA. But with its sponsored teams and lucrative prizemoney, there will be few murmurings.

Denny though is sympathetic to the NFA’s plight.

“I know that Mr (Rudy) Roberts (zone secretary) is definitely trying his best,” he says.

“I don’t know how much help he is getting from the other sources. But definitely, we need to put our heads together if we are to have a better North Zone as a feeder to the national team.”

For these Lawmen, though, the feeding is going just fine.

“I believe this team that we have here right now could challenge any team in Trinidad,” says Denoon with conviction.

His PFL colleagues would be glad to hear that. Next season they will have some fresh ammunition at their disposal. And be in a good position as usual to show just what Police can do.

Scotland tops PFL scorers

THE top PFL scorer so far this season is Jason Scotland.

The Defence Force striker scored his 23rd goal of the season in his team’s 1-1 draw with Doc’s Khelwalaas on Wednesday. But that goal was only his 20th in league competition. The other three came in the First Citizens Cup competition in the final of which the Army were defeated 1-0 by CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.

The prolific Scotland had found able support in his early season partner, Sherman “Ants” Phillip.

Phillip is third on the goalscoring table with 14 goals, behind Joe Public’s Arnold Dwarika (15).

Dwarika’s striking partner Nigel Pierre is tied with Phillip.

Jabloteh’s Keith Gumbs has notched 13 goals while teammate Rolston James has found the net 11 times.

Jose María Manoel of Vibe CT W Connection has scored on 10 occasions with his teammates Gefferson Da Silva Goulart and Earl Jean, who has been having an injury-plagued season, have netted eight and seven goals respectively.

Tuesday October 24th, 2000

WCFC loom large


THEY are still in second position on the eight-team Professional Football League table. But yesterday, as the countdown in the title race speeded up, Vibe CT W Connection were suddenly casting a longer shadow on League leaders Defence Force as they drew even with them on 46 points.

In their round 25 match at the Queen’s Park Oval, W Connection handed the defending champions Army a 2-1 defeat in their crucial top-of-the-table encounter.

Errol McFarlane’s side retained the lead because of their superior goal difference (+21 compared to Connection’s +17).

That statistic was earned, in part, by having scored more goals than their opponents in their league encounters. But yesterday, it was Connection who managed to come out on top in the scoring.

But it was no run-of-the-mill goal that saw the Army’s fall to their sixth defeat of the 2000 season.

After WCFC’s Brazilian midfielder, Ronaldo Aporicido Viana, had shot them ahead, it was the Army’s own David George that turned in a Gefferson Da Silva Goulart right-side cross to put the southerners two up.

And that margin, opened in the first period of the game, is what eventually decided the outcome.

Using the mushy conditions of the Oval pitch-the result of the previous day’s Big Four Malick/St Benedict’s encounter-to their advantage, Connection made defending difficult for captain Hutson “Baba” Charles and his men.

In fact, it was the Army’s inabiltiy to master the heavy underfoot conditions that led to the first goal.

Some 10 minutes after the first blast of referee Ramesh Ramdan’s whistle, captain Reynold Carrington won a tackle in centre field. The ball fell to Titus Elva who twisted and turned past two defenders before laying off for Viana. The midfielder rapidly blasted a right-footer into Ross Russell’s right “vee” ten minutes after the start.

Nearly quarter of an hour later, George seemed to lose his footing as he attempted to cover Connection forward José Maria Manoel on the far post. His attempt to put the ball behind the byline went awry, going in the wrong direction and ending up in the net.

In the Connection goal at the other end, Brian Davis was having his own difficulties with the pitch. Late in the first half, he managed to get a hand to a Jason Scotland drive that was heading goalward despite slipping and sliding in the process.

He did not do as well early in the second half.

After an Army build-up ended with Dean Pacheco having a go at goal from 20 metres, Davis made a meal of the tame shot. He fumbled the ball, leaving the unmarked Russell Pope an open goal to pull one back for his side.

AFter that, however, the Army’s chances at goal were very few, the best coming when Kelshall Alexander’s shot ran parallel to the goalline but never changed direction enough to cross it.

That would be as close as the Army would come to getting an equaliser.

They can, however, regain their three-point lead when they take on Doc’s Khelwalaas on Wednesday at Caroni in a postponed round 22 match. But to achieve victory, they must rediscover their scoring ways.

Yesterday’s scores
Round 25
W Connection 2 (Ronaldo Aporicido Viana, own goal) Defence Force 1 (Russell Pope)

Sunday October 22nd, 2000

Fire feels the heat

                            NFA series Part V

Sports Desk

THE late Mighty Dougla once lamented in song that his critics would have to “split me in two.”

Those who play football in the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service are in a similar predicament.

They are not confronted with the calypsonian's identity crisis but they too must find a way to thrive despite division.

You see Fire Service football is split in two. The football teams have become, in a sense, victims of their own success.

In 1999, Fire swept all before them in the Northern Football Association competitions. The Premier League, League Cup and the North Zone’s FA trophy were all won. And with two places in the Professional Football League becoming available for this season, Fire got the chance to blaze a new trail in professional soccer.

But change has brought its unwanted consequences.

Still maintaining a unit in the NFA, the Firemen find themselves fighting for stability on two fronts. It is currently a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other. But these firemen are prepared to stand the heat.

“The love and the togetherness that some of the senior guys have, some of us really hold on to that name Fire Service.”

Irvin Thomas, player/coach of the NFA side, is talking, his eyes sparkling.

A football entity since 1951 when they separated from the Police, Fire Service have been a regular part of the football landscape. From the old Northern Amateur Football League and the Port of Spain Football League through to the NFA, Fire have been stalwarts of the game in the North.

But the love affair with the capital has cooled of late.

The club has considered leaving town.

“We are not too happy with the NFA,” explains manager Clyde Ramsaroop.

“We have thrown around the idea of moving to the East Zone. The NFA is lacking some managerial skills. They need to source a sponsor because the competitions are not attractive.”

The unsponsored North Zone does not offer the most attractive prizes in the zonal game. It is a point not lost on Ramsaroop.

“Last year,” he continues, “we won everything and our total prizemoney, having won everything, was $8,000! Whereas our counterparts in Tobago, Georgia, they got $23,000 for winning less!

Carib in the East got $23,000. In fact, in both Tobago and the East Zone, the league prize is $12,000.”

That NFA bounty barely covers the expenses of a season.

In a league where national exposure is minimal for both players and teams, where grounds are difficult and where the atmosphere at games is less than electric, one can understand the frustration.

Not unlike some of his other NFA colleagues, the Fire manager would like to see an intermediate, semi-pro level reintroduced.

Not only, he argues will this provide more incentive to the players but it will serve the practical purpose of preparing zonal footballers for the very big step up to the pro ranks.

“Right now,” says Ramsaroop, “the system of having the zonal teams going to the champion of champions to play to get into the PFL...there is a vast, difference when you leave the zones.

“You could be the best zonal footballer, but when you go up to the professional league, it is totally, totally different. The level of the game itself, it is a very fast game, the control you have to have, the skill....”

As manager of both the PFL and NFA teams, Ramsaroop has seen first-hand the difficulty of turning amateurs into pros. Especially when they are servicemen.

Because of the specific entry requirements for the Service, Fire have found that the very best talent has not been available to them.

You can’t wear that red jersey and have locks of any kind, a police record or even flat feet.

Also, as a result of their demanding occupations, Fire’s pro players cannot keep up a twice-a-day training schedule like many of their civilian rivals.

These factors may not be entirely the cause of Fire’s lower-table position in the PFL but they certainly contribute.

In the case of the NFA unit, the problems are similar but compounded. The cream of the Fire crop now play in the PFL. And while the size of the service may still allow Fire to field an active team in the NFA, maintaining the club’s high zonal standards has become a special challenge.

“Before the competition,” coach Thomas explains, “you get a ton-load of players-thirty-something, twenty-something. But as soon as the competition starts, after one, two, three games, it takes a lot from the management, the coaches to really give them (the players) that encouragement to come out.”

Not enough players, Thomas says, are willing to stay the course of the season when they are told they have not made the cut for the pro league team. Not everyone has the patience to play on a feeder team.

For those who stay on, though, there are other distractions.

“Sometimes they would prefer to go to a minor league game where after the game they could get a $40, they could drink something rather than come to a practice session or come to a game.

Getting to practice, you would think, would be easy for fire officers, policemen and soldiers. Not necessarily.

“We have fire stations all over Trinidad and we have players coming from South, Sangre Grande, Arima, San Juan, Port of Spain,” says Ramsaroop.

“It is difficult to be getting everybody together. We have a shortage of staff in the Fire Service and when you have to bring in fellows for football, it’s not easy.”

Still, the firemen are keeping up with the leaders in the top half of the league. They are doing so through the efforts of a dedicated core who are prepared to go down to the wire for Fire.

Ask Thomas.

One of his side’s 30-plus brigade, playing for Fire is as natural to him as aiding a damsel in distress.

The feeling is little different for Jeffrey “Moses” Samuel, Fire’s PFL coach who still runs out in NFA games, and fellow veterans Sheldon “Cheesy” Franklin, Kevin Long and Alexander Hogan.

Even in these cash-conscious times, service for some is still something to be passionate about.

“It gives me that pride,” Thomas says finally, his eyes lighting up again, “that once teams hear Fire Service, they come out.”

                 Joe Public jolt Jabloteh


THEY took a bit of the pressure off defending champions Defence Force. And dealt CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh’s chances of wearing the 2000 PFL crown a big blow.

Joe Public’s slim 1-0 victory over the San Juan-based side on Friday evening also improved their standing in the PFL table to third, taking over that position from Ron La Forest’s team.

For Jabloteh, seeking to make up ground on the Army, none of their players could manage to fire on target.

But although Joe Public forward Arnold Dwarika shot waywardly too, the “Eastern Lions” found solace in the other half of the attacking pair — Nigel Pierre.

When the game started at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence on Friday, it was Clayton Morris’s squad that showed more purpose.

Sharper and quicker to the ball, Public were finding gaps in the middle of the Jabloteh defence, commanded by Don Morris.

And after shots on goal from Dwarika and Stokely Mason that did not get past Jabloteh’s Alejandro Figueroa, Pierre eventually got beyond the Colombian goalkeeper.

When Mason was put through by Adrian Narine, his left-footer lacked the power to beat Figueroa. But after the keeper failed to hold it cleanly, it fell to Pierre who slotted home immediately from the right side of the penalty area in the 8th minute.

Jabloteh’s best opportunity of the half came shortly after that.

At the other end, Kerwyn Jack headed the ball out of Michael McComie’s hand from a right-side corner. But defender Richard Pierre Bruny was there to clear off the line.

Of the two styles of attacking—Jabloteh using the flanks and Public going through the middle—Joe Public’s seemed to be more effective. And it eventually led to their winning a penalty.

Dwarika, running tirelessly into space, found some room in the Jabloteh area from Narine’s feed. But as he feinted, Jack missed the ball and took his man down instead. But Dwarika’s running off the ball was better than his aim and he found the wrong side of Figueroa’s upright from the spot.

Jabloteh had had a let-off but they continued to do themselves no favours in the remainder of the game.

Kevin Jeffery and David Villaquiran, on for Gumbs and Otis Seaton respectively, linked up late in the game but Villaquiran’s eventual effort inside the area did not trouble McComie. And they did not trouble him for the rest of the match.

Tomorrow, though, Defence Force will be looking to trouble the Vibe CT W Connection keeper when the two sides meet in a top-of-the-table encounter at the Queen’s Park Oval. If the Army fail to achieve their goal and Connection manage to score, there could be a change at the top of the PFL standings.

In the other two matches, Doc’s Khelwalaas take on Arima Fire at Caroni and Police challenge Caledonia AIA at Arima Velodrome.

All games start at 3:30 p.m.

Joe Public 1 (Nigel Pierre) CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh 0

Army (3-2) make it hard


 DEFENCE Force won 3-2. But they made their FA Trophy game against Cocorite United a much more difficult task than it should have been. 

At the St James Barracks yesterday, complacency in defence and good marksmanship by Cocorite striker Kevin Pierre had the Army uncomfortable for a while. But Kelshall Alexander eventually scored the goal that mattered. 

Before that, Defence Force had made Cocorite resort to ball-watching. And and a lot of defending. 

The game was just two minutes old when, from Anton Pierre’s freekick, Dexter Harrison in the Cocorite goal dived to push the ball around the posts.

A moment later, Harrison was in action again, this time missing Kwesi Smith’s shot. But fortunately Garfield Weekes extended himself at full stretch on the goalline to prevent the ball from crossing it. Garfield was in no position to help out his keeper in the 23rd minute.

 After Jason Scotland was brought down in the Cocorite area, Kerry Jamerson converted from the spot. In the second period, Army continued their pressure and Sherman “Ants “ Phillips had Harrison diving in vain once more. He could only watch the striker’s glancing header from Dexter Lee’s left-side cross nestle in the bottom of the net. 

Up until then, Army custodian Selwyn George had not had to deal with a single shot from the opponents. But then came two errors within two minutes of each other.

 First, the defence failed to clear the ball decisively and Pierre (K) beat George from close range. 

 Then Kerry Jamerson generously laid the ball at Pierre’s (K) feet and the Cocorite striker fired a powerful one-timer out of George’s reach.

 The Army became understandably a little uneasy. But Alexander settled them back down with his header from Smith’s cross ten minutes from time.

 Down south:There were eight different scorers in W Connection’s 9-0 walloping of former PFL outfit Point Fortin Civic Centre. 

 At the defending FA Trophy champions’ home ground at Gilbert Park, José Luis Seabra Jr scored a double. But his efforts, which included one from the penalty spot, were in addition to a strike each from José Maria Manoel, Valencius Joseph, captain Reynold Carrington, Francis Lastic, Paolo Roberto, Elijah Joseph and Titus Elva. Connection have shown great scoring power in their two encounters so far. The Southerners moved onto the semifinal stage with this latest result which followed their 10-0 hiding of Malabar FC last week.

 And their fellow PFL counterparts, Joe Public, got the better of East West Coaching School 3-1 at Prison’s Ground. Nigel Pierre (2) and Arnold Dwarika found the net for the “Eastern Lions”. 

 Jabloteh, Public in key clash


 WHICH way will the PFL championship go? Will it take the same route it did last year, down to Teteron for the Defence Force? Or will it travel down South to W Connection? 

 The final destination is yet unknown. But today when CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh visit Joe Public at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence from 7 p.m., both teams will be hoping it goes East. For that to happen, though, there must be a positive result today.

 Four points adrift of leaders Defence Force, Jabloteh need a win today to keep their chances of taking the title to San Juan alive.

 To achieve victory against the “Eastern Lions”, strikers Ralston James and Keith Gumbs, who failed to find the net against Arima last week, must do so today. And the Don Morris-marshalled defence will also have to keep things tight enough at the back to prevent Joe Public forwards Nigel Pierre and Arnold Dwarika from doing too much damage. As tight as the Jabloteh backmen would like to keep things, the potent Public duo have the skill to open up the game.

 The outcome of this match could well determine the championship route. The hope shared by Jabloteh and Joe Public is that the road will lead eastwards. 


FA Trophy quarterfinals

 Defence Force 3 (K.Jamerson, S.Phillips, K.Alexander) Cocorite United 2 (K.Pierre 2)

 W Connection 9 (J.Seabra Jr 2, V.Joseph, E.Joseph, F.Lastic, P.Roberto, T. Elva, J. Manoel, R. Carrington) Point Fortin CC 0

 CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh 7 (R.James 2, O.Seaton, K.Gumbs, K.Baptiste, D.Sinnette, D.Morris) Earlbrookes FC 0

Doc’s Khelwalaas 4 Young Hearts 0

Joe Public 3 (N.Pierre 2, A.Dwarika) East West Coaching School 0

Caledonia AIA 3 Main Street 0, Arima 2 Police Sports 0. Police FC 2 Falcon Crest 1

Tuesday October 17th, 2000

'Public, Connection gear for series

Professional Football League clubs Joe Public and Vibe CT 105 W Connection will represent Trinidad and Tobago in next month's Concacaf Club Championship Caribbean Zone qualifying series.

The competition will be played here and in Antigua/Barbuda. Joe Public, winners of the last Caribbean tournament, are in Group 1 which will be played here. The group also features FC Sithoc of the Netherlands Antilles, Suriname's SV Robinhood and Guinness Harlem Bombers of Dominica.

The four teams will contest a round-robin competition in T&T from November third to the fifth.
The Eaastern Lions will be led by the national trio of Angus Eve, Arnold Dwarika and Nigel P:ierre, who are all currently involved in T&T's drive to reach the 2002 World Cup.

W Connection, led by Reynold Carrington, will meanwhile, travel to Antigua for action in Group three which also includes home side Empire FC and Tivoli Gardens (Jamaica). Group three action will be played on November 2nd, 4th and 5th.

The winner of the two mentioned groups will join the winner of Group 2 in the Caribbean Zone's final group competition which kicks off in December at a venue to be determined. The Caribbean champions will move on to next year's CONCACAF Champions Cup which serves as the qualifying event for FIFA World Club Championship.
Monday October 16th, 2000

Connection clobber Khelwalaas

            ... Skipper Eve earns Joe Public full points


A 5-0 crushing of Doc's Khelwalaas, at Gilbert Park yesterday, earned Vibe CT W Connection a one-rung climb up the PFL ladder. The Couva-based squad moved ahead of CL Financial Jabloteh, into second spot, a mere three points adrift of leaders Defence Force.

Jabloteh missed out on an opportunity to move within a couple points of the Army/Coast Guard combination when they were held goalless by Arima Fire at the Arima Stadium. The point lifted Fire off the bottom of the eight-team standings, edging them ahead of new table-proppers Police.

And at the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, Joe Public pipped Caledonia AIA 1-0, but remained in fourth spot. The home team could have left the Macoya venue with a handful of goals to their credit. However, poor finishing, from Arnold Dwarika in particular, kept Caledonia in the hunt for at least a point right up until the final whistle.

In Couva, though, W Connection grabbed the opportunity to boost their goal difference, Valencius Joseph leading the way with a double-stike. Francis Lastic, Sheldon Mark and Jose Seabra chipped in with a goal apiece.

But finishing at the Centre of Excellence was far from excellent. A 34th minute strike from skipper Angus Eve was all the sprinkling of spectators had to cheer about. The national senior team player latched on to a loose ball, surged into the Caledonia 18-yard box, and slotted home past custodian Anthony Marshall.

Six minutes into the second half, Dwarika had an opportunity to send his team two-up, but he had evidently learnt very little from his skipper's fine example of clinical finishing. With a clear run at goal, the dreadlocked striker over-pushed the ball into Marshall's hands.

In the 67th minute, Dwarika headed the ball over the cross bar from the edge of the six-yard box. And then, eight minutes later, he shot wide of the mark. But the worst of his wasted efforts came in the tenth minute of the game. Marshall had feebly parried the ball into the path of the skilful Trinidad and Tobago striker. Just a few metres from the goal-mouth, Dwarika leaned backwards as he kicked, skying the ball.

The solid Joe Public defence—Coulson Dick, Pierre Richard Bruny, Adarayll John and Cyd Gray—ensured that their team did not pay for the wasted opportunities at the other end of the field.

Caledonia managed the odd attack, but a combination of sturdy defending and a lack of imagination in the final third of the field kept "Public" keeper Michael McComie out of the game for most of the first half.

But within ten minutes of the resumption, he was called into service. Kamal De Gregory's square pass, from the right side, actually beat McComie, but, luckily for "Public", there were no blue shirts close enough to capitalise. And a few minutes later, the colourful custodian was forced out of his area to make a clearance.

Five minutes from the end, Marc Borde just failed to get on the end of a low, left-side cross from Sherwyn Julien. Had he succeeded, the Joe Public victory would have been sealed, and the Caledonia pressure, applied in the dying minutes of the game, would not have mattered. But though they pressured, they could not penetrate, allowing "Public" to prevail.


Vibe CT W Connection 5 (V. Joseph (2), F. Lastic, S. Mark, J. Seabra), Doc’s Khelwalaas 0

Joe Public 1 (A. Eve), Caledonia AIA 0

Arima Fire 0, CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh 0

Jabloteh falters in PFL


CL FINANCIAL Jabloteh dropped two vital points yesterday when they were held 0-0 by cellar-placed Arima Fire at the Arima Municipal Stadium.

And, while the early pacesetters in the race for the $500,000 first prize in the Professional Football League were finding it difficult to adapt to the terrible conditions at the Arima Municipal Stadium, two of the other challengers were victorious at other venues. Vibe CT 105 W. Connection hit top form, swamping Doc's Khelwalaas 5-0 at Gilbert Park, California, and Joe Public came away with a 1-0 win over Caledonia AIA at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya.

Following these three results, Defence Force now enjoy a three-point lead over Connection with a game in hand.
Jabloteh have slipped to third, a point behind Connection and two points better than fourth placed Joe Public.
Defence Force are on 46 points, W.Connection on 43, Jabloteh on 42 and Joe Public on 40.

Jabloteh and Fire were involved in a match in which there were no glaring missed chances.
Neither team had a chance to play good soccer because of the heavy conditions. W Connection probably played their best game of the season against Khelwalaas, getting goals from Valencius Joseph (two), Sheldon Marc, Jose Juiz Seabra and Francis Lastic.

Khelwalaas were taught a lesson by the Southern-based outfit, who led 1-0 at half-time. The third goal scored by Lastic was the goal of the match. He climbed above the defence to head the ball into the "jep-nest" with goalkeeper Kelvin Jack well and truly beaten. The left-side cross was supplied by Wesley Webb, who picked up the ball wide on the half-line and outran his marker before centering.

Angus Eve did what fellow-national players Arnold Dwarika and Nigel Pierre failed to do all afternoon ­ he scored the only goal of the match against Caledonia. Joe Public created numerous scoring opportunities, but between Dwarika and Pierre, the pair should have scored at least four goals.

With all the PFL teams listed to play the second round of the FA Trophy on Wednesday, action will continue in the "Match of the Week" on Friday between Jabloteh and Joe Public at the Centre, from 7 pm.
Defence Force will meet W. Connection on Sunday at the Oval in a match which will have a strong bearing on the outcome of the League.

Friday October 13th, 2000

Army take attack to Police


IN football, they say, the best form of defence is attack. Tonight at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence, with a view to putting themselves in position to better defend their PFL championship title, the Defence Force will be hoping to take the attack to Police.

A win for the Army against the Lawmen in their 7 p.m. round 24 match would not only increase their lead over First Citizen Cup winners CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh to five points. It would also bring them one step them closer to the $500,000 winners’ cash prize and the silverware. The Army/Coast Guard combination have the firepower to force Alvin Boisson and his Police defenders to concede goals. Their line-up includes in the front line the league’s top sharp-shooter in Jason Scotland

Already this season, the stocky 21-year-old striker has successfully breached defences 22 times. And with his team’s title on the line, the incentive is there for him to continue to shoot on target.

Even if Scotland misses the mark, though, the other half of the Defence Force’s attacking pair Russell Pope—swift and saavy—will be there to back up his partner.

And if these two are on the mark this evening, it seems more than likely that for Police, currently seventh in the eight-team standings, the Army’s artillery will prove more than overwhelming.

                       Wednesday’s Scores

FA Trophy (First round)
Defence Force 2 Stokely Vale 0
Falcon Crest 3 San Fernando Giants 0
Caledonia AIA 2 Carib FC 2, Caledonia 4-2 on penalties
Young Hearts 1 Black Gold 0
Arima Fire 2 Clu Sando 1
Police Sports 0 Caroni FC 0, Police 4-2 penalties
KDE Goal City 0 Cocorite Utd. 1
Police FC 5 Friends FC 1
PFCC 9 Diamond United 1
East West Coaching School 5 Knock it Sports 3
Wasa FC 0 Doc’s Khelwalaas 1
San Juan Jabloteh 5 Golden Lane 0
W Connection 10 Malabar FC 0
Thursday October 12th, 2000
Connection win 10-0


CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh yesterday showed the huge gap between the Professional Football League club and the Tobago Football Association team.

That gap was five goals.

In first round FA Trophy action at the Queen’s Park Oval, Tobago’s Golden Lane FC saw their keeper Sherwin Matthews collect the ball out of the net five times.

Golden Lane were unable to trouble the Jabloteh defenders for 90 minutes.

The difference in the standard of play between clubs in the eight-team PFL and the zonal associations was emphasised at Gilbert Park.

There, defending FA Trophy champions Vibe CT W Connection trounced the EFA’s Malabar FC 10-0 to give them a good start in their bid to retain the title.

Strikers José María Manoel and Valencius Joseph helped themselves to a hattrick against the East-based squad.

But at the Oval, Jabloteh succeeded in dominating Golden Lane completely.

The Tobagonians only effort at goal came after a half hour in the game: a long-distance effort from Harvey Butcher that goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa had no trouble in collecting.

Before and after that frail attempt, most of the action centred in the Golden Lane half.

But David Villaquiran, Daleon Sinnette, Keith Gumbs had shots in the early going that were all misdirected. It took some inaccurate shooting before Ralston James eventually found the net after quarter of an hour.

After receiving a clearance from his defence on the vacant right flank, James worked a wall pass, with Otis Seaton before blasting a one-time right-footer past Matthews.

The game’s first goal did not bring the floodgates down, though.

Jabloteh, perhaps made complacent by the lack of real competition, continued to struggle to find the target behind Golden Lane’s Matthews.

But if the complacency did not fully disappear in the second period, at least clinical finishing became more frequent.

Seconds after the resumption, Gumbs, unchallenged, headed in a Sinnette right side cross. 2-0.

Then some 15 minutes passed when captain Marvin Faustin from the opposite flank ,chipped for the towering Don Morris to score by the same means as Gumbs. 3-0.

With Golden Lane limited to ball watching, substitute Kevin Jeffrey unleashed a bullet with his right boot for the fourth item.

And Kerwyn Jack, who had seen little action in defence for the First Citizens Cup champions, got into the scoring act, slamming home from Morris’s lay off.

In the end, Golden Lane were lucky that CL Financial Jabloteh had not increased the margin of victory.

Yesterday’s scores

CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh 5 (R. James, K. Gumbs, D. Morris, K. Jeffrey, K. Jack) Golden Lane 0
W Connection 10 (V. Joseph 3, J. Manoel 3, J. Luis Seabra Jr, T. Elva, F. Lastic, A. Xavier) Malabar FC 0.
Sunday October 8th, 2000

Arima Fire hold W Connection 0-0

 VIBE CT 105 W Connection showed once again they are not hungry as Defence Force and CL Financial Jabloteh to win the $500,000 first prize in the Professional Football League competition.

 The Southern-based outfit threw away chance after chance on Friday night on a very heavy ground at the Centre of Excellence to walk away with only one point from a 0-0 draw with cellar-placed Arima Fire.

 Going into the match seeking a win to keep the pressure on Defence Force and Jabloteh, strikers Titus Elva of St Lucia and Brazilians Jose Manoel and Jeffery Goulart, failed to make good use of the chances that came their way.

 As a result of the draw - its tenth in the four-round series - Connection moved to 40 points from 23 matches. Defence Force, who has 43 points from 22 matches, enjoys a two-point lead over Jabloteh at the top of the table. Connection hasn't lost a game in the League since going under 1-0 to Doc's Khelwalaas on July 26.

 However, in the third round alone the side has been held to five draws. Connection, who had the better of the exchanges, dominated two-thirds of the playing area against the firemen. But in the final third - the area for scoring goals - they were deplorable. Elva, Manoel and Goulart in particular were reaching in the six-yard box, but instead of shooting, preferred to hand off the responsibility to one another.

 Nothing changed late in the game when coach Stuart Charles substituted Manoel and Goulart with Valencia Joseph and Fabiano Agrapino - the pair missing some simple chances. Martin Loobie, the Fire custodian, must also be given much credit for keeping a clean sheet. He saved some fine shots and was extremely effective in dealing with the high crosses, as well as the
 low, that came his way. Connection's goalkeeper Anthony Clarke, had an easy night. He showed a clean pair of hands holding the few shots that came his way.

Part IIConnection’s PFL chances slim


FRIDAY night, the light’s breaker tripped, casting the João Havelange Centre of Excellence into darkness. For W Connection, it must have been symbolic.

For when their round 23 match against table proppers Arima Fire ended in a goalless draw, so too their PFL title hopes were cast in doubt.

At this juncture, a share of the points was not what was prescribed for the Southerners.

They are still in third place with the top two teams-defending champions Defence Force and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh—enjoying a one game cushion.

But the lighting incident that caused 30 minutes delay during the interval was ironically the only bright spot in an otherwise drab match.

Connection, led by José Luis Seabra Jr in Reynold Carrington’s absence because of national team duties, appeared to underestimate the eight-team league’s last placed club.

On a slippery and heavy surface, the complacency was evident by Francis Lastic’s effort in the 30th minute. The Connection defender casually tapped wide from inside the box after Jose María Manoel had flicked on Seabra’s right side corner. It was the best and only real chance at goal for David William’s side during the first period.

Arima had managed to defend stoutly. And on the other end, the speed of Darril Toussaint, Elliot James and Hayden Thomas, although not producing results, was threatening.

But Connection had the best of the opportunities to find the net in the second 45 minutes of play.

Chanches included Johnathan Mc Vane’s fine effort—from a bounce off an Arima defender—to substitute Fabian Marcos Agripino’s shot at the last post which was turned away by a timely tackle by Arima’s goalkeeper Larry Loobie.

In between those two efforts, Titus Elva, struggling to find his scoring form once more, first miscued when Jefferson Da Silva Goulart found him unmarked in the Arima penalty area. His second attempt at goal brought out a reflex save from Loobie.

And Agripino curled a free-kick near the left byline into Loobie’s crossbar after the ball had avoided the keeper's grasp during five minutes of injury time.

On this day, the Connection’s game seem to have had a short. Unfortunately for them, their title chase may have also suffered the same problem.

Friday October 6th, 2000

Connection could move up higher today in PFL

VIBE CT 105 W Connection could improve its position in the Professional Football League today at CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

The southern-based squad comes up against bottom-of-the-table Arima Fire from 7 pm.
In what is not expected to be a huge order, a win will take the "Radio Boys" to second spot on 42 points between Defence Force (43) and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh (41).

Brazilians Jose Maria Manoel and Gefferson da Silva Goulart will be spearheading the Connection attack. In the league, Manoel is fourth on the individual goal scorers' list while Goulart is in seventh place.

Heading the scoring with 19 goals is Jason Scotland, the prolific Defence Force striker.
Scotland is followed by last year's "Footballer of the Year" Arnold Dwarika (12), of Joe Public, Sherman Phillip (11), of Defence Force; Manoel and Nigel Pierre (10), of Defence Force; Rolston James (9), of Jabloteh, Goulart (8) and Keith Gumbs (6), of Jabloteh.

Defence Force 22 13 4 5 49 28 43
Jabloteh 22 12 5 5 48 25 41
W Connection 22 10 9 3 42 31 39
Joe Public 23 11 4 8 48 35 37
Khelwalaas 22 7 6 9 27 35 27
Caledonia 23 6 5 12 31 42 23
Police 22 5 4 13 19 39 19
Arima Fire 22 5 3 14 33 57 18

Wednesday October 4th, 2000

Army back on PFL top

 DEFENCE FORCE marched back into the lead in the Professional Football League last night after a 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA at CONCACAF Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

 The Army victory continued a see-saw affair with main rival, CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, for leadership of the eight-team competition.

 Army skipper Hutson Charles's unit now has 43 points, two more than Jabloteh. Inactive Vibe CT 105 W Connection (39 pts) remained in second, but is now being hotly pursued by Joe Public.

 The Eastern Lions moved to 37 pts following a 3-0 victory over Doc's Khelwalaas at Frederick Settlement, Caroni, in the other game yesterday. At CoE: AIA were given a glimmer of hope when George Isaac levelled the scores at 1-1 after Anton Pierre had put the Defence Force ahead.

 The scores remained locked up until after the interval when the Army piled on the pressure and were rewarded with from Russell Pope and national defender Dennis Lawrence.

 At Caroni: First-half goals from national striker Arnold Dwarika, Adrian Narine and Kerwyn "Hardest" Jemmott earned full points for the Public.

Public set back Khelwalaas


THREE first-half goals earned Joe Public FC a comfortable victory yesterday afternoon at Frederick Settlement, Caroni where they were guests of Doc’s Khelwalaas.

And at the Centre of Excellence in a later game, Defence Force came from a goal down to beat Caledonia AIA 3-1.

The game was contested on a damp ground and in cool, cloudy conditions. As early as the eighth minute, the visitors were in the lead thanks to Arnold Dwarika. Midfielder Shurland David sent Nigel Pierre down the right flank and when the lone Doc’s defender failed to clear Pierre’s cross, Dwarika found himself with the simplest of chances. He obliged, simply beating goalkeeper Kelvin Jack to his left.

The Lions were well aware that they needed nothing less than full points to keep alive their faint hopes of championship honours. So once in front, the Eastern Lions attacked relentlessly in an attempt to increase their tally. Jack was forced to parry a rasping right-footer from Pierre five minutes later, following a left-side build-up featuring Adrian Narine and Adaryll John.

The reward for their persistent efforts finally came in the 20th minute when on the right side Dwarika combined with Kerwyn Jemmott and then found Narine running in unmarked from the left. Taking his time, Narine shot towards the far upright and watched in glee as his angled shot went in off the inside of the post.

Now two down, the hosts sprang into action. They organised quick attacks on the counter and continually strung short passes together in midfield. At the end of one such sortie, Randolph Jerome found himself inside the penalty area with the ball at his feet but he put his shot wide of the target with Michael McComie and the goal at his mercy. Moments later, after a combination with Carlos Mezu, he would come much closer with a second attempt when his shot grazed the outside of the far post.

Undaunted by their bad luck, Khelwalaas continued to make a fight of it until three minutes from the interval when their fate was sealed. After some slick interchanges between Narine, Dwarika and Jemmott, the wily midfielder made it three, beating Jack from close up.

Joe Public should have increased their margin in the second period as Khelwalaas’s John Serna was given marching orders by referee Ramesh Ramdhan in the 50th minute. Somewhat surprisingly, however, Joe Public could not capitalise on their numerical advantage and the game became a more even contest right until the final blast of the referee’s whistle.

In Tunapuna, Caledonia opened the scoring in the 13th minute through George Isaac and then missed a penalty before the interval.

Anton Pope pulled his side even in the 20th minute and Dennis Lawrence (60th) and Russell Pope (80th) sealed the issue for the Army after the resumption.

Sunday October 1st, 2000

Jabloteh snatch FCB Cup

Sports Desk

IN an unusual game for the Defence Force, their customary scorer Jason Scotland could not make his mark.

But although the marksmen for CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh—Ralston James and Keith Gumbs—also failed to find the net, defender Kerwyn Jack became an unlikely hero with the lone goal that saw the team lift the First Citizen Bank’s Cup at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence Friday night .

Jack’s strike in the 53rd minute of the game also earned his team the $25,000 winners’ cash prize. And for his effort, he was adjudged the MVP of the finals, winning himself two tickets to any American Airline destination.

The defender of the series prize went to the Army’s Dennis Lawrence which included a trophy and $1,000.

But the lanky Lawrence would have willingly exchanged that award for Jabloteh’s silverware.

Marvin Faustin and his men, however, made sure the Cup went home to San Juan.

Wearing the captain’s band for this game, Faustin and his defence managed to keep Scotland at bay for most of the game. When Scotland did break loose in the 4th minute of the match his shot lacked the power to get past Alejandro Figueroa.

But the Army/Coast Guard combination failed to provide Scotland with his habitual service. And to add to their problems, the sturdy striker picked up a knee injury in a tackle near the interval.

At the other end James and Gumbs were suffering the same fate and the lack of good distribution made for a scrappy first half’s play that gave goalkeepers Figueroa and Ross Russell little work to do.

Errol Mc Farlane’s team was out of sorts in the back and frontline. Lawrence, back from a recent trial with Newcastle, was playing in the right back position instead of his usual stopper spot.

The understanding was not there and after James skied one overbars from a mix-up, the Army defence erred one time too many.

When they failed to clear the ball from left side crosses on two occasions, David Villaquiran struck a low ball into the box that an out of position Anton Pierre could only divert into Jack’s path near the edge of the penalty area.

Jack immediately snapped a low left footer that Russell’s desperate lunge failed to get a hand to despite.

Scotland then had motivation to improve on his 22-goal tally to date. But the injury sustained in the previous half was limiting his movement. And Faustin and company were keeping the lid on their goal shut. “Scotty” did manage one shot near the end from the top of the area that flew wide of Figueroa’s upright.

Jabloteh’s Kevin Jeffrey, on for Gumbs, did not shoot wide in injury time from a ball played over the Kerry amerson-marshalled defence.

But his went harmlessly into Russell’s arms.

But when Ramesh Ramdhan ended the game, it was the unlikely Jack that had done the job.

WCFC start defence against Malabar


THE 1999 FA Trophy champions Vibe CT Connection will start their bid to retain their title against Malabar FC.

When the first round of the competition begins on October 11, 32 teams will start their campaign to cop the coveted trophy. And take away the prize money which, according to TTFF president Oliver Camps’s vague declaration, would be no less than the previous year’s. Last year champions WCFC earned themselves $40,000 for their efforts.

A year ago, Connection edged Joe Public 2-1 in sudden-death extra-time with a goal from their captain Reynold Carrington. The other effort came from the boot of Finals MVP Earl Jean.

Austin Jack Warner’s Joe Public will take on CFA’s FX Soccer Club. Joe Public are currently being coached by Clayton Morris, who recently replaced Kenny Joseph at the helm.

1998 champions CL Financial San Juan face the TFA’s Golden Lane FC.

Of the 32 clubs in this year’s competition, the eight-seeded teams hail from the PFL. They were seeded according to their current position in the standings. Six have emerged from the EFA along with the same number from the TFA. The NFA and the SFA have provided the competition with five clubs each while there are just two entries from the CFA.

After the first round, the 16 winners will advance to round 2 on October 18. November 8 will see the victors in that round play each other in quarterfinal action. And the semifinals are scheduled for November 22.