|Jabloteh coach salutes team’s success |
By JOEL BAILEY Friday, December 5 2008
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MARVIN OLIVER (centre) shows who is the number one team in the Pro League, as he lifts the Lucozade Big Six trophy, along with defender Joel Russell (...
TERRY FENWICK, coach of Pro League and Lucozade Big Six champions CLICO San Juan Jabloteh, has saluted his team for their success in the 2008 season.
Jabloteh drew 0-0 against arch-rivals W Connection to claim both trophies after Round Four Match Day Five action on Saturday, at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The San Juan squad finished the season on 74 points after 32 league matches to retain their league crown; while they tallied 13 points in the five Lucozade Big Six games (Round Four) to dethrone Connection for that title. Jabloteh finished two points ahead of Connection in both categories.
Following Saturday’s game, the 49-year-old Fenwick said, “It’s a marvellous achievement and today’s game was a game played between two very, very good teams. W Connection have had a magnificent season.”
The former England defender continued: “We’re delighted to collect two trophies in one game. But these guys have deserved it. We’ve had a fantastic season. We’ve been at the top all season and I’m delighted for them all.”
During the off-season, Jabloteh signed a pair of veterans — 33-year-old midfielder Marvin Oliver from Caledonia AIA and 37-year-old striker Earl Jean from W Connection, as well as utility player Noel Williams from Police.
And during the transfer window, they brought in Cornell Glen as well as the Petrotrin strike pair of Jerol Forbes and Beville Joseph to replace the Antiguan duo of Peter Byers (last year’s top-scorer with 15) and Gaeson Gregory, who joined Montreal Impact in Canada.
But Jabloteh, for the majority of the season, utilised a number of youngsters in their squad— defenders Ronald Primus (18), Sheldon Bateau (17), Joel Russell (19); midfielders Atullah Guerra and Elton John (both 21), Elijah Manners, Lester Peliter and Devon Jamerson (all 20); and striker Cyrano Glen (21).
“They’ve been fantastic and it’s testament to them,” said Fenwick. “They’ve not just competed but they’ve won the Pro League. A fantastic achievement.”
Midfielder Trent Noel, who captained Jabloteh to back-to-back league crowns, was also a member of the victorious 2002 and 2003 teams.
Concerning the 2008 title conquest, Noel stated, “it’s unbelievable. It’s a good feeling.
“It brings back memories from last year and it’s great to retain the Cup,” added the 32-year-old, who netted a team-leading ten times this season. And he was high in praise of Oliver’s contribution to the team. “It’s a pleasure to have the Player of the Year (2007) with us and he was also delighted to play with us this year.”
But Noel, despite consistent performances during the past few years, have been completely overlooked for selection on the national team.
“I don’t want to comment on the national team,” he noted. “The coach (Francisco Maturana) has a choice. He picks his team. I have to focus on my players here. I wanted the league and that is what I (got).”
One of the reasons why Oliver joined Jabloteh this year was to earn silverware, and he noted: “It feels great.
“Not only winning with Jabloteh but this is my home team,” he added. “The first team I ever started off playing football with and it just feels like memories from back then.”
And Oliver has no plans to hang up his boots any time soon. “My body is feeling good and I still think I’ve a lot in me to give, seeing that Russell (Latapy) and Dwight (Yorke), at (their) age, are still playing high competitive (football), which motivates me. So I’ll be right here.”
Despite his age, he feels comfortable within the team. “The majority of the youths I’m friends with, even when I was playing with Caledonia,” he said. “So the transition was simple and easy.
“I got my respect when I came into the team and I also gave my respect to the younger players. It wasn’t that hard,” he ended.