By Franklin Wilson
As preparations wind down for the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship first leg, Alpha United will face a stiff test when they battle the President’s X1 tomorrow at the GCC ground Bourda, under lights from 7:30pm. An Under-21 clash between Alpha and Uprising will open things at 5:00pm.
Both Club President Odinga Lumumba and Head Coach Mervin ‘Pug’ Wilson are in unison that preparations have been going well to date.
Alpha will battle Tempete FC of Haiti in their first-round game on March 21 at the GCC with the second leg return clash set for one week later in Haiti. Tempete are expected to arrive in Guyana on the evening of March 18 and based on reports, is a very tough team but the local side is preparing for the challenge.
Tomorrow’s game is expected to provide a good indication as to where the team is as they face some of the most eager and talented players around. It was disclosed that there will be improved lighting at the venue with the use of eight lighting towers instead of the customary six.
The young exciting strike quartet of Telson McKinnon, Manasseh Primo, Kevin Beaton and Clive Andries will be a good test for Alpha’s seasoned defenders led by National captain Charles Pollard along with Howard Lowe, Anthony Harding and Kelvin McKenzie.
This game will also allow Alpha much needed turf practice and this is despite the fact that all the players in their squad would have played at this venue either for their club or for the National team.
Coach Mervin Wilson said encampment at Camp Soweyo has been progressing very well so far. “The unity in the team is excellent with training twice daily at the camp and in Linden at the MSC and LTI grounds. It is a very expensive venture but I think we will reap the desired results for the team and Guyana.”
Coordination he said is good while pointing out that they still need to work on a few fine areas ahead of the big first round game.
“We are well aware that the Haitian team is no easy one but we are going into this game confident that we will do well. I am confident that we have a well organised and committed group of players who will do us proud.”
Lumumba disclosed that corporate support continues to flow not at a fast rate but is confident that it will improve. The government of Guyana he said has come on board.
Encampment he said will be until the 21st of this month. A number of options are still being looked at with regard to Alpha’s travel to Haiti for the return game.
Alpha has been strengthening for this game by acquiring top flight local and overseas players including two Brazilians.
Some of the other players who will be challenging for the final places of the squad are Leon Grumble, Quincy Madramootoo, Abassi McPherson, Dwayne Jacobs, Edison Gomes, Dwight Peters, Shawn Bishop, Wendell St. Hill, Emerick Williams, Philbert Moffatt, Gordon Henry, Jose Beckman and goalkeepers, Ronson Williams and Adrian Gittens.
The Presidents X1 18 man squad: Shemroy Arthur and Oswald Cornette (goalkeepers); Chris Camacho, Colin Nelson, Trevon Lythcott, Keiron Cameron, Reshawn Sandiford (defenders); Sceyon Hope, Bevon Moseley, Michael Phyll, Glenorvan Edmonds, Lumumba Hinds, Deshawn Thom, Anthony Benfield (midfield); Telson McKinnon, Kevin Beaton, Manasseh Primo, Clive Andries (strikers); Joseph Wilson (coach).
Meanwhile, the CFU has altered the order of the previously announced schedule because of travel anomalies.
A holiday in Aruba and a “market day” in Haiti that restricted air flights necessitated that Alpha United face Tempete FC of Haiti at home in Georgetown on March 21, and Cavaly host SV Britannia of Aruba on March 22 in Leogane. Tempete and Britannia were to host the first legs on March 18.
Tempete will host the second leg against Alpha United on March 25 while SV Britannia will be home for the second leg against Cavaly on March 30. Other changes included Sevilla FC changing the date of its first leg home match against the Green Bay Hoppers from March 18 to March 21, and the Hoppers of Antigua delaying the second leg until March 29.
The second leg schedule remains unchanged, with the first legs set for April 13 and the second leg a week later. Single-game semifinals are set for May 15 in Trinidad & Tobago, which also will host the final and third-place game two days later.
The Caribbean Club Champions Cup will qualify three teams to next season’s CONCACAF Champions League.
CFU Club Champions Cup – Revised Schedule
First Leg – Wednesday, March 18
Centre Bath Estate (Dominica) vs. W. Connection (Trinidad)
CSD Barber (Netherlands Antilles) vs. Inter Moengo Tapoe (Suriname)
Saturday, March 21
Alpha United (Guyana) vs. Tempete FC (Haiti)
Sevilla FC (Puerto Rico) vs. Green Bay Hoppers (Antigua)
Sunday, March 22
SA Cavaly (Haiti) vs. SV Britannia (Aruba)
Second Leg – Wednesday, March 25
W. Connection (Trinidad) vs. Bath Estate (Dominica)
Tempete FC (Haiti) vs. Alpha United (Guyana)
Inter Moengo Tapoe (Suriname) vs. CSD Barber (Antigua)
Sunday, March 29
Green Bay Hoppers (Antigua) vs. Sevilla FC (Puerto Rico)
Monday, March 30
SV Britannia (Aruba) vs. SA Cavaly (Haiti)
First Leg: April 13; Second Leg: April 20
*San Juan Jabloteh (Trinidad) vs. Moengo Tapoe-Barber winner
*Greenbay-Sevilla winner vs. Tampete-Alpha United winner
*W. Connection-Centre Bath winner vs. Cavaly-Britannia winner
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