Guaya United, the current Super League leaders, avoided a monster clash against Pro League 2017 front runners North East Stars and W Connection in last week’s random draw of the 2017 FA Trophy Round-of-32—but Ron La Forest’s Green Army were pitted against the PL’s third-placed Club Sando, an outfit coached by his close friend and past student of the game, Angus Eve.
“This is a match to see,” said one Super League official to another, during the final announcement of the Round-of-32 match-ups by Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams on September 22 at the Media Room of the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The Round-of-32 will be contested on October 1, 4 and 5 at more than a dozen already-confirmed venues across Trinidad and Tobago.
“Carenage versus Carenage!” shouted a club official, highlighting that both La Forest and Eve are Carenage-born.
“Master versus student,” Eve poked fun at the situation this week as his side prepare to host Guaya from 7pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday.
However the Sando coach says his side will maintain priority on qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League, which means finishing in the Pro League top two.
“I have a lot of respect for Ron, but this is just a match for me,” said Eve, who led North East Stars to the FA Trophy the last time it was contested back in 2014/15.
“My mantra this season is qualifying Sando for the CONCACAF Champions League and to do that we must first finish in the top two of the Pro League. So we are going to maintain our priority in the Pro League. We used a weaker team, testing some of our [non-regulars] in the FA [Trophy] first round (in a 2-1 win over Cultural Roots) and we will do same against Guaya United who I consider a professional team playing in the Super League.
“They (Guaya) have a Pro League team and a former national coach who coached at various national levels as well as clubs such as San Juan Jabloteh, Joe Public and Ma Pau, and even led St. Anthony’s College to a national championship. They have players from the Pro League such as Keon Joseph, brothers Glenton Wolffe and Anthony Wolfe and others.
“They have a professional unit down there and coach known as the ‘professor’. They are not crying out for sponsorship like teams in the Pro League. Their coach drives a new and very expensive vehicle branded by their sponsors. No Pro League team have that! His salary is even higher than some Pro League coaches and players are being paid on par with Pro League clubs.
“A team with that sort of community support and resources should definitely be a Pro League franchise. If they win the Super League or FA Trophy they still can’t go further like into the Caribbean Club Championship or to CONCACAF. They should be playing at the highest level in the country,” ended Eve who played under La Forest during his time with the Trinidad and Tobago national team and credits the former national coach as one of the influential figures in his footballing life.
FA Trophy Round-of-32 action kicks off on Sunday with six match-ups inclusive of Morvant Caledonia United’s hosting of Tobago’s Super League side Stokely Vale FC from 3:30pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Other Sunday matches include Defence Force’s Pro League outfit taking on Trinity Rangers from 3:45pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium; Point Fortin Civic hosting Tobago’s Signal Hill United from 4pm at Mahaica Oval; and defending FA Trophy champions North East Stars visiting Pitchmen FC from 7pm at La Brea Recreation Ground.
On Wednesday, W Connection, 12-0 winners over Tamana United in the first round a fortnight ago, are hosts to Super League’s Bethel United from 3:45pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium; MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers will host Tobago’s Black Rock from 4pm at the St. Augustine Senior Secondary School Ground; Defence Force’s Super League side will visit San Juan Jabloteh from 5pm at Barataria Oval; and Police FC’s Pro League outfit will host Super League’s UTT from 6pm at the Police Barracks in St. James.
Two fixtures on Thursday, counting FC Santa Rosa’s hosting of Santa Flora from 3:45pm at the Arima Velodrome will complete Round-of-32 fixtures.
FA Trophy 2017 - Round-of-32 fixtures
(Sunday 1 October 2017)
Morvant Caledonia United (Pro League) vs Stokely Vale FC (SL), 3:30pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium, POS;
Defence Force FC (Pro League) vs Trinity Rangers (EFA), 3:45pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella;
Point Fortin Civic (Pro League) vs Signal Hill United (TFA), 4pm, Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin;
Leeds United (TFA) vs WASA FC (EFA), 5pm, Plymouth Recreation Ground, Tobago;
Central 500 Spartans (SL) vs Perseverance Ball Runners (CFA), 6pm, Edinburgh 500, Charuanas;
Pitchmen FC (SFA) vs North East Stars (Pro League), 7pm, La Brea Recreation Ground, La Brea.
(Wednesday 4 October 2017)
W Connection (Pro League) vs Bethel United (SL), 3:45pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella;
Prisons FC (SL) vs 1976 FC Phoenix (SL), 3:45pm, Youth Training Centre, Golden Grove Road, Arouca;
MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers (Pro League) vs Black Rock (TFA), 4pm, St. Augustine Senior Secondary School Ground, St. Augustine;
Club Sando Moruga (SL) vs Sangre Grande Dream Team (ECFU), 4pm, Grand Chemin, Moruga;
San Juan Jabloteh (Pro League) vs Defence Force FC (SL), 5pm, Barataria Oval, Barataria;
Police FC (Pro League) vs UTT (SL), 6pm, Police Barracks, St. James;
Club Sando (Pro League) vs Guaya United (SL), 7pm, Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva;
San Fernando Giants (SFA) vs Police FC (SL), (venue and time still to be determined).
(Thursday 5 October 2017)
FC Santa Rosa (SL) vs Santa Flora FC (SFA), 3:45pm, Arima Velodrome;
Cunupia FC (SL) vs Central Soccer World (CFA), (venue and time still to be determined).