HEAD coach of Cunupia FC, Michael De Four has maintained optimism at winning tomorrow’s TT Super League (TTSL) League Cup, despite the unavailability of his star forward Kevon “Showtime” Woodley, who will miss the match against Queen’s Park due to a suspension.
Woodley received a red card and was ejected after scoring two goals in Cunupia’s penalty shoot-out victory over league champions FC Santa Rosa in the League Cup semifinal, on Sunday. It could not have been a more untimely dismissal for Woodley given his brilliant goal-scoring form this season, leading up to the penultimate match of the season.
Woodley is the leading goal scorer in both the league (23 goals) and cup competitions (five goals) this season, and by a considerable distance.
In an recent interview with Newsday, De Four expressed cautious optimism despite being forced to field an understrength attacking line-up.
“All players have roles on our team and all players have to work and understand what we’re about, or are in the process of understanding what we’re about. In the case of Kevon Woodley, he is a player who is adaptable, is versatile and follows instructions on the field in terms of what you want from him, very well. He is very hard to replace but what we will do is make the necessary adjustments to get the best team performance and if we are successful at that, we are very, very hard to beat,” De Four said.
As for other possible knocks and fitness issues, De Four said it’s “nothing that we haven’t been dealing with throughout the season.”
According to De Four, the club set out to win the double this season and although they were unable to do so, he said management will be content with taking home the League Cup title.
Despite his optimism, De Four and Cunupia have been unable to get past Queen’s Park this season. They lost both legs 2-1. De Four offered perspective in terms of his opponent, saying, “Derek King was Santa Rosa’s coach. He won the Pro League last year. He also won the (Super League) league this year. He has a few trophies to his name and he was not able to beat us, at no time. In the case of Mr Cooper (Queen’s Park head coach), he is a national coach. In the games that he played us, he had a very strong team. I thought he would have won the league, I must say.
“Players stepped down, for want of a better word, from the Pro League to join his squad for all the different reasons. So, even in times when we felt that our system was sufficient to carry us through in little areas where experience and technique in individuals were needed, they came out on top.
“For example, when they beat us 2-1 in the last game, there was a moment when their marquee player, Sean de Silva, was actually in the corner with no where to go and the player gave him room and he made a cross and a goal came out of it. He should not have been able to make that cross. He should have probably had turned back or whatever, but it happened. So, in that situation, it was the decision-making of a player, who is an amateur against a player who is a professional.”
Switching focus toward the final, De Four took issue with the designation of the Arima Velodrome for the last two rounds of the knock-out competition, saying the venue was unsuitable for consistent, free-flowing football.
“Preferably I’d like to game to play the match at a different venue. I am not satisfied with the field. Cunupia, and you can check with Queen’s Park, we felt that the match should be played at a different venue. The field is hard, bumpy and maybe a 25 by 25 square in the centre of the field has just brown dirt,” De Four said.