Caledonia AIA will begin the defence of their Caribbean Club Championship title from April 24 in Jamaica, where they play a qualifying tournament for entry into the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League.
Caledonia AIA are grouped with the Jamaican team, Boys Town Club, Valencia of Haiti and Antigua Barracudas for their series, which runs from April 24 to May 1. During the same period, Trinidad and Tobago’s other qualifiers, W Connection host a group at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, which includes Baltimore Sportif (Haiti), Baymon (Puerto Rico) and Inter Moengotapoe (Suriname).
Both T&T teams are expecting a tough qualifying series. The winners of each group will advance directly to the Caribbean Club Final, and will also automatically qualify for the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League. The group runners-up will vie for a third CONCACAF qualifying spot.
“The rules are a bit different this year,” said Caledonia coach Jerry Moe. “Last time, the top two emerged from their group and then met each other in the semifinals and a final to determine the three qualifiers. But since the rules are different this time, we will be looking to win out (our) group and qualify directly for CONCACAF.”
Moe said the experience of having won the CFU title and playing at the CONCACAF level for the first time in 2012 had done his players a lot of good.
Travelling to the United States and other places was an eye-opener for many of the Caledonia players, who had not been out of the Caribbean before. Moe said his players were eager to relive the experience, and also learn from what they had experienced on the playing field.
Moe has been rotating his squad, and hopes to have his players fresh and ready for the tournament.
“I expect that the ground will be bumpy and the football physical. But I think we have the right attitude and the right preparation for the tournament. I think we can win the group.”
Meanwhile, W Connection coach Stuart Fevrier is happy that the Pro League has resumed after a recent international break. He has put in some extra attacking work with his players, and expects to do well in the Caribbean Championships.
“We have to be more consistent generally in our offensive game. Defensively we have been doing well, so we are working hard to see if we can get it right by the time the tournament comes around.”