Club Sando became the latest project of Angus Eve after the former North East Stars and St. Ann’s Rangers coach agreed to a three-year agreement with the Digicel Pro League (DPL) club for the upcoming 2016/17 season and onwards.
“The plan is to improve on what Sando did last season [in the league],” said Eve who wants his new side, Sando, to also push for the First Citizens Cup and Digicel Pro Bowl finals in the upcoming season. “Nothing is beyond us as Leicester City demonstrated last season [in the English Premier League]. Sando made no finals last year, so to make it to two this season will be an improvement. If we can do that then we will give a go at titles.
“But for now we are realistic,” added Eve. “Our team are young. We are not W Connection who have a very young team but very experienced due to play at the CONCACAF Champions League experience and international exposure. So it’s a matter of managing our expectations at Sando.”
The expectations are high—a top half of the table finish this season and eventually the DPL crown—from Eve’s new employers. “We don’t expect success overnight,” said Club Sando boss and San Fernando businessman Eddison “Eddie” Dean. “We are a 25-year-old club and it took us quite some time to dominate the South Zone and then it took us some time before dominating the Super League. [But] I hope it don’t take as long to dominate the Pro League.”
Since joining Sando in June, Eve has made “wholesale changes” to the club’s roster with goalkeeper Stefan Berkeley, midfielders Kevon Piper and Keron Cornwall and forward Trevin Latapy all joining from Rangers. Former North East Stars midfielder Jamaican Keithy Simpson has also reunited with Eve following a stint Finland.
Other signings include Akeem Roach (Defence Force), Leslie Russell (Morvant Caledonia United), Kevin Lewis (Police FC), Vincentian Nical Stephens (Cunupia United), Jayson Joseph, Nicolas Thomas (Point Fortin Civic) and Kaashif Thomas (San Juan Jabloteh). While Kemuel Rivers, Shaquille Holder, Akeem Humphrey, Jared London, goalkeeper Kelvin Henry and former Naparima College captains Michael Basdeo and Amrit Gilharry have all been retained. Eve has also promoted 20-year-old midfielder Anderson Toussaint from Sando’s Super League team.
Sando made their Pro League debut last season, finishing seventh on the 10-team DPL standings under coach Anthony Streete who had led them to the Super League title the previous season and before that a runners-up finish.
But at the end of last season, Sando parted ways with Streete, who has now returned to his old employers Rangers, who failed to avoid a third consecutive cellar-position finish last season even with Eve at the helm. Credit to Eve, however, Rangers’ play showed improvement while nearly tripling their points tally from the season before under previous coaches.
Prior to his stint at Rangers, Eve had a three-year spell at North East Stars – his first position as head coach of a professional club – and led the Sangre Grande club to the 2012 Toyota Classic and 2015 TTFA FA Trophy. Also during his tenure, Eve guided North East Stars to 4th (2012-13), 5th (2013-14), and 4th (2014-15) finishes in the DPL.
Eve also had successful spells at San Juan Jabloteh (2006–2009) and Ma Pau SC (2009–2011) as assistant coach to Terry Fenwick and Michael Mc Comie, respectively, while his international coaching experience stands at having a stint as the Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 team for the 2012 Olympic qualifiers.
However it was the former Trinidad and Tobago international’s coaching success with Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) giants Naparima College over the past years, including last season’s treble (National Inter-Col, South Inter-Col and Premier League) that captured the interest of Sando, with club boss Eddison Dean a Naparima College old boy and keen supporter of “Naps” football team.
Eve said his philosophy to develop young players for the development of Trinidad and Tobago football while creating better opportunities for youngsters align with the thinking of Dean.
Eve has acquired the services of former Guyana international Charles Pollard as assistant coach and former San Juan Jabloteh and North East Stars goalkeeper coach Brian James, both who had lengthy playing careers in the Pro League.
Eve will face his former employers when Club Sando tackle San Juan Jabloteh on September 30 from 5pm at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin in the opening game of the 2016/17 Digicel Pro League followed by home side Point Fortin Civic against Morvant Caledonia United from 7:30pm to complete a South vs North double-header at the venue.
Digicel Pro League 2016/17
Friday September 30
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
Club Sando vs San Juan Jabloteh—5pm
Point Fortin Civic vs Morvant Caledonia United—7:30pm
Sunday October 02
Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella
Defence Force vs St. Ann’s Rangers—3:30pm
Tuesday October 04
Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar
Ma Pau Stars (formerly North East Stars) vs Police FC—3:30pm
Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
Central FC vs W Connection—6pm