When it comes to deciding a match on penalty kicks, W Connection is hard to beat.
The players of W Connection proved once again that they possess all the nerves it takes to win a shootout by disposing of Joe Public to win the First Citizens Cup and the $65,000 first prize on Friday in the final at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
After the teams were deadlocked 2-2 at the end of regulation time, referee Gregory Hospedales had to line-up the ball 11 times before the “Savonetta Boys” came away a 6-5 winner over the “Eastern Lions”.
Head coach and technical director of W Connection, St Lucian, Stuart Charles-Fevrier was quick to point out at the end of the thrilling affair that his players are always prepared for such an epic battle.
“In the end, we won because we showed more composure and confidence in the penalty shootout,” said Charles-Fevrier, who has been in charge of W Connection since the inception of the T&T Professional Football League in 1999.
“Penalties are now part and parcel of the game and that calls for a lot of practice,” added coach Charles-Fevrier.
“To win a game on penalties is not as easy as some people may feel. It calls for a lot of practice.
“In preparation for all our cup games, we practice penalties every day in training. We do this over and over till we get it right.”
Winning the final for the fifth straight season and sixth overall, brought a sense of joy and happiness to Charles-Fevrier.
“I’ll tell you one thing. I can’t even remember how the other finals unfolded. For me, all of them is the same .... the satification and joy of winning.
“When we win, personally I am more happy for the owners, the staff who I work with, the people who work in the background and of course the players.”
With only Friday’s final fresh in his mind, Charles said: “The joy of this final for me is that there were six players that I worked with from the Under-20 level who were part of the winning team.”
“To see them grow and carry on the legacy of the first generation of players, who had set a high standard for others to follow, was enough for me to feel proud of what I do as coach of W.”
The players, Charles-Fevrier was referring to were locals Hughtun Hector, Andre Pacheco, Kern Cupid and Kemuel Rivers, Jerrard Williams of St Kitt’s and Colombian Christian Viveros.
“To see they have come into the senior team and continue the winning ways the first generation had laid down shows
that our youth programme has been very strong, and also our young players are graduating successfully from youth level to senior level.
“That’s a credit to the club’s programme and everyone involved with the club.
“We have had youth coaches who have made a significant contribition like Sean Cooper, Leonson Lewis and Kurtwyn Baird, and I want to give them credit for the work they have been doing with the younger players.
“We have had the most successful youth programme in the league, both in terms of silverware and players graduating to the higher level.”
Charles-Fevrier said that this year’s final was a thrilling encounter between the two teams and that the game could have gone either way.
“Both teams were always in the game,” he said. “Both had their moments but in the end it had to be decided on penalties and we were very well prepared for that because of our preparation.
“I want to thank our fans for the support they gave us and hope that they continue to support us for the remainder of the season.
I also want to thank my family, especially my wife, Claudia Enda Fevrier for all the work she does in the background in assisting me with my job. I’ll tell you, she’s like a secretary to me.”
Charles-Fevrier added: “We are a very ambitious club. We always try to win every game we play. So naturally, we want to win every competition we play in. This of course is not always easy. But we’ll never stop trying to do so.
“Obviously one of our main objectives is to win the league which has escaped us since 2005.”
W Connection’s road to final
Ma Pau 1 (Keno Proctor 19th) v Tobago United 2 (Collie Hercules 68th, Kelvin Hernandez 82nd).
North East Stars (Sylvester Teesdale 60th) v Defence Force 1 ( Devon Jorsling 50th) Defence Force won 3-0 on penalties.
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Trent Noel 15th -pen, Jerol Forbes 87th) v Tobago Utd 0.
Caledonia AIA 3 (Walter Moore 6th, Conrad Smith 18th, 26th) v St. Ann’s Rangers 3 (Christon Thomas 37th, Keon Edwards 41st, Josimar Belgrave 53rd - pen) Rangers won 4-3 on penalty kicks.
W Connection 5 (Hughtun Hector 15th ,50th; Jonathan Frias 40th, Ronaldo Viana 43rd, André Toussaint 88th) v Defence Force 2 (Kurt Williams 7th, Kevon Carter 56th).
United Petrotrin 2 (Romauld Aguillera 8th), Kevon Woodley 18th) v Joe Public 4 (Gregory Richardson 5th, 19th, 26th; Shane Calderon 44th).
W Connection 2 (Jonathan Frias 8th, Teba McKnight 74th) v St Ann’s Rangers 0.
San Juan Jabloteh 0 v Joe Public 1 (Gregory Richardson 48th).
Third and fourth playoff
CLICO San Juan Jabloteh St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Jason Marcano 66th) v St Ann’s Rangers 2 (Keyon Edwards 60th, Josimar Belgrave 62nd).
W Connection 2 (Andre Toussaint 18th, Jonathan Frias 35th) v Joe Public 2 (Christopher Durity 11th), Keyeno Thomas 55th). W Connection won 6-5 on penalties.