Joe Public and W Connection will renew their rivalry today when the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) FA Trophy final takes place at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.
Kick off time is 7 pm with the winner guaranteed a jackpot of $80,000 while the runners-up will pocket $40,000.
In the semi-final double-header at the Macoya venue on Monday, Joe Public eliminated 2008 champs Caledonia AIA 3-1, with goals from Micah Lewis, Kerry Baptiste and Devon Leacock, while Connection ousted United Petrotrin 1-0, courtesy of a strike from Jonathan Frias.
As far as the history of the FA is concerned, Joe Public prevailed in the 2001 and 2007 editions, but lost in 1999 and 2000, both to Connection.
Connection also emerged victorious in 2002, but were the runners-up in 2003 and 2008.
Connection’s St Lucian coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier led Connection to their first FA trophy in 1999, with a 2-1 win over Joe Public at Macoya.
A year later, Charles-Fevrier earned back-to-back FA crowns after a 6-5 result, via kicks-from-the-penalty-mark over Joe Public, following a 1-1 regulation time score-line, at Gilbert Park in Couva. Current team captain Elijah Joseph and Brazilian-born Jose Luiz Seabra were key members of the 2000 champions.
In 2001, Joe Public, with current national Under-23 coach Zoran Vranes at the helm and Ma Pau’s coach Michael McComie as the captain, copped their first FA title with a 1-0 win, on their home turf, over Carib. Among the members of that team were current Joe Public assistant coach Dale Saunders and veteran central defender Keyeno Thomas.
Charles-Fevrier registered his third FA title in 2002, as Connection thrashed Arima Fire 5-1 at Macoya - that team included Seabra and current Joe Public goalkeeper Alejandro Figueroa.
But, a year later, Connection were beaten 4-1 on penalties by North East Stars, following a 2-2 regulation time score-line. Charles-Fevrier was coaching Trinidad and Tobago at the time and Leroy Spann held the fort at Connection - Joseph, Seabra, Figueroa and national midfielder Clyde Leon were in that squad, as well as defender Keryn Navarro (then with North East).
In 2007, Joe Public registered their second FA title, edging Caledonia 1-0 in front of their home crowd, McComie was the coach of the team which included Saunders (as captain), Thomas, defenders Seon Power and Jason Springer, as well as Baptiste and Leacock.
Connection were on the losing end in the 2008 final, falling 3-2, in extra- time, to Caledonia at Macoya.
Among the present Connection players in last year’s decider were Frias, Joseph, Kern Cupid, Andrei Pacheco, Nickcolson Thomas, Igor Santos, Christian Viveros and national midfielder Hughtun Hector.
Joe Public, W Connection face off for FA Trophy.
...Pro League rivals clash at 'Marvin Lee' tonight.
By: Kern De Freitas (T&T Express).
The statistics are many ahead of tonight’s FA Trophy final between Digicel Pro League rivals W Connection and bmobile Joe Public at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 7 p.m.
This makes three the number of times these teams would have faced off in the FA Trophy final, with the previous two, 1999-2000, both going to Connection.
Three is also the number of titles Joe Public have clinched this season, the number of knockout finals they’ve been in, and number of titles Connection will have from the season should they be the victors tonight.
Three is the number of matches Joe Public will have played in five days after Friday’s Pro Bowl final against Caledonia AIA, including two finals, and also the number of times W Connection have won the FA Trophy in five tries. And five is the potential number of titles the ’Eastern Lions’ could have by then.
Based on those numbers, neither side is expecting an easy final.
Joe Public got to the FA final after defeating Caledonia AIA 3-1 courtesy goals by Micheal Lewis, Kerry Baptiste and Devon Leacock in Monday’s semi-final at Macoya, where Kareem Joseph opened the scoring for Caledonia.
And W Connection edged United Petrotrin 1-0 in the other ’semi’.
’It go be tough, because it’s a big ask for the players, especially to play three games in five days,’ Joe Public coach Derek King told the Express yesterday, ’but our main focus is the game tomorrow. Other than that, the players are eager to go, they know the sacrifice they have to make to play two finals in three days, and they are prepared for it.’
King attributed Joe Public’s successful season-with the Pro League, Big Six and Toyota titles under their belt--to the hard work of the players, a good mix of youth and experience, and also to the hard work of the Joe Public staff.
He singled out assistant coach Dale Saunders and fitness trainer David Prince for working with the players, saying the focus this year has been to ’build a family’ at the club.
They have two finals in two days, but he says his team are ready.
’We are fully confident. (The players) know we can do it. More or less it’s a kind of history making five titles in one season. It will be history in the club as a whole. I think that alone will motivate the players.’
Although W Connection have missed out on most of their traditional titles, owner David John Williams is hasty to recall their two titles for 2009, the Lucozade Shield and the Caribbean Club Championships Cup.
He is keen on his club ’finishing on a high’ in a competition ’near and dear to us’.
John Williams believes that only desire will separate the closely-matched teams in tonight’s game.
’Which team wants it more is going to make the difference. It’s the FA Trophy final, a competition which in all footballing countries the FA Trophy brings out the passion in their players and the supporters, and I feel there are no better clubs to play in the final than Joe Public, who have had a very good season, and W Connection, who have something to prove.’
And despite his team’s lack of affinity for the Marvin Lee Stadium’s artificial turf, John Williams thinks his charges are sufficiently motivated to win.
’The players want to go out with a bang...they want to go out on a high,’ John Williams explained. ’We tend to want to set the record straight as far as the season is concerned and see if we could take up a trophy. Winning the FA Trophy is going to be very important for the players.’