Many coaches like to follow a set routine when preparing their players for a cup final, but DIRECTV North East Stars Head Coach, Shurland David has had his players painting and decorating this week.
"To be honest, it wouldn't usually be my first choice of preparation for a cup final" laughed David "But we committed our entire coaching staff and players to a community project organised by our sponsor, DIRECTV.
As the date of the project couldn't be changed, I decided to use it as a team building exercise to unite the players and take their minds off of Fridays match" The Stars Head Coach pointed out that the club had carried out another community project 2 days before the Lucozade Goal Shield final, in which North East overcame Jabloteh 1-0.
"We saw how proud the players were because they worked hard to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence. They all looked a foot taller when they took the field that night. Hopefully, we will achieve the same response on Friday"
North East Stars were taking part in the filming of a DIRECTV documentary, Rock, Paper, Scissors. The programme is designed to provide support and assistance to communities throughout DIRECTV territories across Latin America and the Caribbean and in Trinidad & Tobago, Chagaramas Senior Citizens Home was selected to be the recipient of the company's generosity.
"On Wednesday, the home was descended upon by DIRECTV staff, North East Stars players and staff and a DIRECTV film crew from Chile." said Stars Operations Director, Kevin Harrison. "It was a magnificent turnout. We started by rubbing down the paintwork in rooms that were not able to be habited.
Builders repaired ceilings and replaced doors while everyone else grabbed paint brushes and rollers and began to paint the inside and outside of the rooms." Harrison said that although the work was hard, everyone was in good spirits. "This kind of project benefits everyone.
Obviously, it is great that we can help to provide decent accomodation for our senior citizens. But the bi product is a sense of pride and satisfaction for those carrying out the work. Everyone from DIRECTV and North East Stars worked non stop and so much was accomplished on the first day."
North Easts' C.E.O. Brent Sancho said " This project had been planned several months ago, so the fact that we were preparing for another final - our third this season - did not effect our commitment to carry out this worthwhile work. In fact, we felt it would be a welcome distraction for the guys.
Everyone from North East Stars has taken part, from our President, Darryl Mahabir and his wife, all of our coaching staff and all of our players." Sancho went on to say that the bond between the club and main sponsors, DIRECTV has become even closer.
"At the FA Trophy final, we had busloads of DIRECTV staff supporting the boys. Now they have worked alongside each other and achieved so much, we know they will be there in large numbers for Fridays Toyota Classic final."
"You have to admire the dedication of DIRECTV not only to North East Stars, but also to their local community of Chagaramas. Although we are based in Sangre Grande, we consider the whole of Trinidad & Tobago to be part of North East Stars community, particularly as we have supporters countrywide. Its gratifying to help people from areas outside of the North East."
The documentary will be shown across Latin America and the Caribbean. "This type of project helps to further promote the North East Stars brand, not just in T&T, but also across the Caribbean region, as well as Latin America." said Harrison.
"Its also a perfect example of how a football club and sponsor can work together to promote their brands by benefitting their communities. We also have to thank Toyota for providing transportation for the players to Chagaramas"
DIRECTV and North East Stars staff and players will be continuing their work on Thursday and Friday. "As much as I believe in the project, theres no way the boys will be painting on Friday" said David "The only decorating I want from them on that day will be another trophy for our cabinet!"
DIRECTV North East Stars play Ma Pau in the Toyota Classic at the Marvin Lee stadium, Macoya on Friday 25th February with kick off at 8pm.
Stars, Ma Pau seek Classic glory.
By: Nigel Simon (Guardian).
Michael Mc Comie First-time finalists, DirecTV North East Stars and Ma Pau will be hoping to register their first lien on the Toyota Classic trophy, when they face off in the final at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 8pm tonight.Two hours before the Stars-Ma Pau “Classic showdown,” Pro League coaches XI will do battle with a Toyota All Star team. Since the inception of the Toyota Classic knockout competition in 2005, only four clubs have managed to lift the coveted title.
W Connection was inaugural winners in 2005 edging San Juan Jabloteh 1-0 followed by Petrotrin (2006), bmobile Joe Public (2007), Jabloteh (2008) and Joe Public again a year later.
This time around, none of those clubs managed to reach the title decider, with Jabloteh, reaching further before falling to Ma Pau 5-4 on sudden-death penalty-kicks after a 2-2 draw in last Friday’s semi-final, this after the Terry Fenwick-coached Jabloteh led 2-0 inside the first 60 minutes.
For Ma Pau, tonight’s match marks the first time in the club’s three-year history it has reached a final in the Pro League.
A key figure in the Casino Boys’ run has been former national and England-based goalkeeper, Ma Pau goalkeeper coach/player, Clayton Ince.
The 38-year-old former T&T Defence Force custodian came up big for his club in their quarterfinal win over Caledonia, pulling off three saves in the penalty shoot-out sudden-death win followed by his heroics against Jabloteh.
Speaking on the eve of the final Ma Pau coach, Michael Mc Comie who led Joe Public to the title in 2007 said he believes his team has a good chance of lifting the crown: “The players are all upbeat and ready for the challenge of North East Stars.”
Mc Comie also expressed confidence in the other players to step up their game in the absence of the suspended utility player, Seon Power, saying he has a group of guys who are capable of filling in when one is out for various reasons.
The Sangre Grande-based Stars will be in their third final, having won the Lucozade Sports Goal Shield and emerging runners-up in the T&T Football Federation FA Trophy final, both against Jabloteh.
Looking ahead to the match, Stars coach, Shurland David, a former national defender said he too, was very confident his team could pick up a second title this season once they buck up on defence.
Reflecting on his team’s 3-1 semifinal win over bmobile Joe Public Super League line-up, David said, “We just need a little more concentration in the way we defend because we face a tougher team in the final and if we make mistakes, we will be punished.
For tonight’s match David should have his full quota of players available with the exception of midfielder Marc Leslie and strikers Errol Mc Farlane Jr and Guyanese international, Randolph Jerome who are all nursing injuries.