In form Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA will start as red hot favourites to capture the Digicel Pro Bowl title left vacant by bmobile Joe Public, when the eighth edition of the competition kicks off today with four quarterfinal matches. With a guaranteed winner-take-all first prize of no less than $100,000 which will be presented on finals’ night, Caledonia, winner in 2008 and beaten finalist a year later, start its bid for a second lien on the trophy against St Ann’s Rangers in the first match of a double-header at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 6 pm. While Caledonia has already captured three titles this season (First Citizens Cup, FA Trophy and Lucozade Sport Goal Shield), it knows all too well it cannot take Rangers lightly. The latter recently upset Pro League champions, W Connection 1-0 in the Goal Shield quarterfinals. Jerry Moe, assistant coach of Caledonia, stressed yesterday that winning was the only thing on the minds of his players.
Rangers’ midfielder Mikhail Awai, was also confident in his team’s chances saying that despite its lowly league finish, it is capable of pulling off big wins (as in the case against W Connection) and will be treating the Caledonia encounter just as another match. Two hours later, Defence Force will be hoping to maintain its recent dominance of Adams Construction San Juan Jabloteh. Just a few weeks ago, Defence Force hammered Jabloteh 4-1 in the quarterfinal round of the Goal Shield to add to its two 3-0 league wins from three matches, with the other ending in a 1-1 draw and coach Ross Russell will surely expect his team to continue its unbeaten trend against today’s opponent. Both teams also clashed at the same stage last year, with the “Teteron Boys” emerging 2-1 winners. However, Jabloteh coach, Earl “Spiderman” Carter, says his team will perform better as the extra money on offer in the competition plays right into the hands of his club which is under some financial constraints. At the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, W Connection, 2004 & 2007 winner, will lock horns with Police in a tricky contest.
The Stuart Charles-Fevrier coached W Connection, a five-time finalist will also start as favourites to get past Police, however goalkeeper and club captain Jan-Michael Williams said his team will not be taking its opponents lightly. Speaking on the heels of the match, Williams said his club always tries to play on the last day of the season, so it would like to assume that on Friday 18, the day of the final, it will be vying for the winner-take-all prize. “We take Police very seriously because they are one of the teams that defeated us this season (1-0). So apart from the 8-1 win we had against them in our last meeting, we have to take everything seriously. It’s going to be very competitive.” Police’s Technical Director and former national coach Muhammad Isa stated his team will not be coming to lie down and play dead. “We have nothing to lose and it would be a pleasure to beat the (League) champions,” ended Isa. In the second quarterfinal at Marabella, league debutantes T&TEC tackles DirecTV North East Stars with the latter out to avenge a 4-3 penalty-kicks loss after a 1-1 draw in the Goal Shield quarterfinal. The loss against T&TEC was the first for Stars for the season after a 2-0 win and 0-0 and 1-1 draws in their three league clashes.
DIGICEL PRO BOWL FIXTURES
Today (Friday May 4)—Quarterfinals
Venue: Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
W Connection vs Police, 6 pm (A)
T&TEC vs North East Stars, 8 pm (C)
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium,Mucurapo.
Rangers vs Caledonia AIA, 6 pm (D)
Jabloteh vs Defence Force, 8 pm (B)