FOUR TEAMS have a chance to walk home with the 2018 Pro League crown on Friday, when the final round of matches kicks off, in what has been one of the most keenly contested seasons in recent times.
Leaders W Connection will oppose table-proppers and outgoing champs North East Stars in the second game of a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 8 pm. Police, who are third on the standings, meet fourth-placed Central FC in the preceding match.
There will also be a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. Second-placed Club Sando will tackle Morvant Caledonia United from 6 pm, and San Juan Jabloteh will face Terminix St Ann’s Rangers two hours later.
Connection have 34 points from 17 matches, with Club Sando (who trounced Stars 6-2 on Saturday), Police and Central FC all on 33 points.
Club Sando are second based on their goal difference of plus-19, followed by Police with plus-17 and Central FC with plus-16. W Connection are +31 in goal difference.
Club Sando’s coach Angus Eve is pleased the title chase has come down to a four-horse photo finish.
“It’s great for the league,” said Eve, the former national midfielder and captain. “Going into the last three games, there (were) seven teams involved. It’s has now boiled down to four teams. That augurs well for the league (and) football in the country to know that it’s competitive.”
Club Sando joined the Pro League ahead of the 2015-16 season. Eve is confident his players will be able to withstand any nerves in their season-finale.
“We’re the youngest team in the Pro League,” said Eve. “This is just (our) fourth year. The goal from the chairman of the club Eddison Dean was to make the team competitive in Trinidad. We use a lot of boys from the (Schools) League like Akeem Humphrey, Akinola Gregory and Nicholas Thomas. The goal is (also) to develop young players.”
Eve added, “It’s a relative final. It’s a game that we must win. I know that the chairman has put (a) bonus plan in place for the guys to give them that level of added incentive. So everything is in place, we have no major injuries, no suspensions.”
The top two teams in the league will qualify for the 2020 edition of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.
According to Eve, “Having a chance to be part of the (Club Championship) is one of the stepping stones in that developmental process.”
The 46-year-old Eve is also eyeing a personal achievement of his first League crown as coach.
“You always have to keep working with the guys,” said Eve. “I had experience with different clubs since I’ve come into the League. I’ve won the FA Cup, the Pro Bowl, and titles in the (Schools) League. I have experience in how to deal with players going into big matches.”
In related news, there will be a rescheduled league game tomorrow, with Defence Force battling Stars at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 6 pm.
San Juan Jabloteh*17*7*3*7*24*24*24
Point Fortin Civic*18*3*2*13*20*46*11
St Ann’s Rangers*17*3*1*13*13*62*10
North East Stars*16*1*3*12*15*50*6