COUVA.- The 2018 season of the Trinidad and Tobago Professional League will commence on Friday with former league champions and CONCACAF Champions League contenders W Connection taking on reigning League champions North East Stars in a Charity Shield Final at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad.
This season promises to be an enticing one with several of the clubs eyeing a place at the top to in order to qualify them for the CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship and subsequent Scotiabank CONCACAF League and Champions League in 2019.
Among the teams taking part in the T&T Pro League season is Central FC which is coming off an appearance in the Caribbean Club Championship where they missed out on a chance of qualification for the CONCACAF League. Central's head coach Stern John recognizes the importance of Central topping the League again as they aim to reach another CONCACAF top-tier competition.
"We are really eager to get the season started because we've been on a break for some time and the players are all very hungry to be playing again," John told CONCACAF.com "Of course we at Central want to be back in the running for the title again because we didn't finish too well last season but getting a taste of the CONCACAF League in 2017 and then being so close again this year, we definitely want to be title contenders to try and be competing among the top clubs in CONCACAF next year," John added.
Some of the other clubs in the League with CONCACAF Champions League experience include Defence Force, Morvant Caledonia United, San Juan Jabloteh and W Connection.
The T&T Pro League has players from different member associations attached to its clubs from as far as Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada, Suriname, St Lucia, Guyana, St Kitts/Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and also Ghana. Suriname national team player Dimitri Apai is among those in the W Connection squad and Guyana's Sheldon Holder is part of the Morvant Caledonia United roster while Dominica's Briel Thomas will line up for W Connection.
W Connection will be hoping to kick off their season on a winning note on Saturday and head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier sees the importance of a competitive league with its role in providing players for the Trinidad and Tobago national teams.
"Since the commencement of the professional league, we (T&T) have made it to almost every (World Cup qualifying) CONCACAF Final Round. We must keep pushing on, without the Pro League it's obvious we'd go backward. We intend to have a season with solid, competitive football in 2018," Fevrier said.