“I can say that T&TEC has always been ready,” T&TEC Head Coach Dexter Cyrus said confidently following official confirmation of his team’s acceptance into the TT Pro League from the 2011-2012 season beginning in August.
Cyrus led T&TEC to the 2010 Super League and Knockout titles in only their second season at the level. In 2009 T&TEC finished runners-up in both the League and Knockout sparking warnings of what was to come in 2010.
In 2009 plans to join the Pro League fell apart for T&TEC but signaled their intentions in 2010 by winning both titles at the National Super League level.
And prompt action by the T&TEC management in 2011 secured the team’s berth in the professional ranks of the TT Pro League confirmed by the League CEO Dexter Skeene this week.
Cyrus went on to add, “We intend to continue from last season as a team with great success.
“We have done exceptionally well at Zone and Super League levels and I think that everyone is more or less ready mentally for the jump to the Pro League level.
“So you can expect a lot of nice football because I like to play and coach nice football and I think with the incorporation of the management and the players we will have a lot of success.
To strengthen his team’s chances of success in their debut Pro League season, the T&TEC head coach said he will be doing some shopping.
“We have players with Pro League experience, National experience and playing abroad,” he said. “And with the mixture of youth and experience we have a good bunch, but I don’t want to take anything for granted.
“I don’t want to let any cats out of the bag, but definitely we want to go shopping for new players. But we want to know that those new players can deliver trophies.”
In February T&TEC met DIRECTV North East Stars in the Toyota Classic Round of 16 and was edged out 1-0 against the Pro League club which went on to reach the Final but defeated by Ma Pau SC.
“I thought our team performed exceptionally well,” said Cyrus commenting on his team’s performance against North East Stars.
“We were never carved open by the Pro League team (North East Stars). We on the other hand, had about three one on one chances which fell to one player and he wasn’t able to convert.
I summed it up as lack of experience at that level. Maybe in the Super League he would have had a little more time to think but not at this level.”
Team captain Jade Jones welcomes the opportunity of joining the Pro League.
He said, “It’s a wonderful feeling because it’s the highest level of club football in the country and a chance to really prove ourselves as players. There is lot of enthusiasm in the camp and everyone is just waiting on the chance to prove themselves.
Jones and teammate Joel Bailey shared the same thought that the transition into the Pro League from the Super League will be more of a mental one.
“We have a lot of guys with Pro League as well as playing abroad experience, so the major step will be a mental step more than anything else,” said Jones.
“That mental preparation, that mental concentration throughout the game for ninety minutes is a whole different level, but it’s something we can work on. And you can expect good results from T&TEC.”
Bailey who also said that it’s an opportunity for players and management to show what we are capable of, added, “It would be more of a mental challenge for us rather than our physical ability, because a lot of stuff that we would have gotten away with at lower levels (would not happen at the Pro League level).
“I think players will take some time to realize that, but at the same time I think it would be a smooth transition. With any team moving into new Leagues will take some time to adapt to new levels but because of the fact that we have been playing together for some time and based on the foundation at the club, I don’t think the transition will be that hard,” ended Bailey.