On loan Finland based DIRECTV W Connection duo Joevin Jones and Shahdon Winchester are eager to become Caribbean champions, as Trinidad and Tobago lock horns with host Jamaica in the 2014 Caribbean Cup final tomorrow evening.
Both Jones and Winchester were not yet 10 years old when this occurred, but as young football players in the embryonic stages of their European careers at Veikkausliiga clubs – HJK and FF Jaro respectively – they are looking forward to making history with the national team.
“It will be a great feeling to win the cup, as a footballer you always want to win things”, Jones told wconnectionfc.com from the Soca Warriors camp in Montego Bay. “We missed out on the cup last two years ago and it would to be good to win it this time.
“Representing your country is always a magnificent feeling and a joy. Winning silverware, especially this one (Caribbean Cup) will make it even better because its been 13 years since we won it and now its at our arms length,” said Winchester.
Jones who missed the first two games of the tournament versus Curacao and French Guiana due to illness, has been regularly used by coach Stephen Hart in the left-back position.
This trend continued in his first seven games for Finland club league 2014 season winners HJK, who rotated him between left-back and left wing, despite Jones shinning in central mid-field for DIRECTV W Connection during the “Savonetta Boys” two league titles in the last three seasons.
However the 23 year-old is not perturbed about that, but is rather cognizant of his uniqueness in modern Trinidad and Tobago football: a versatile, left-footed player.
“It doesn’t bother me because I can play both positions good, ” said Jones who won his 39th cap for the national team during the draw against Cuba. “The coaches (Stephen Hart and HJK coach Mika Lehkosuo) have a different look playing me at left-wing or left-back.
“Trinidad doesn’t have many natural left-footers in the country’s football, so I understand why am used in the role often,” concluded Jones who cites Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo and Dwight Yorke as his football heroes.
For the 22 year-old Winchester whose player inspirations are Russell Latapy and Didier Drogba, the Cuba fixture was his first match for the Warriors since 2013 friendly fixtures versus Romania and Estonia under the tutelage of former national coach Jamaal Shabazz.
Winchester believes his time in European football which in his opinion is more faster and organized than in the Caribbean has certainly made him a better player, since he last donned the red and black uniform.
“I have been used on the wing more than as a striker for FF Jaro… and the European experience, playing high intensity games week in and out has improved the consistency area of my game since I last playing for the national team,” said Winchester.
Unlike Jones who is a more established first team player once fit, Winchester faces solid competition from other players in his position to get game time in the final. Regardless of who starts, all 23 Warriors players in the squad, have a singular aim to leave the “Land of Wood and Water” with the nations ninth Caribbean Cup title secured.