Keith Jeffery, technical director of San Juan Jabloteh football club was full of praise for his Under-13 players, and technical staff following their fifth straight lien on the T&T Youth Pro League (YPL) crown with a 6-1 mauling of Defence Force at San Juan North Secondary School Ground, Bourg Mulatresse, San Juan on Saturday.
With the win, Jabloteh Under-13s, coached by Dave Weekes and Andre ‘Andy’ Morales also booked a spot in the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Under-13 Champions League.
Jabloteh will also compete in this year's CONCACAF Under-13 Champions League (August 10-17) in Costa Rica as champions of last season’s YPL, and their follow-up this season earns them the fourth qualification at the international tournament in 2020, having reached the quarterfinals last year.
Speaking after the team's win on Saturday, Jeffrey, who is also first team head coach of the San Juan club, said winning the youngest age-group a fifth time in a row shows the level of the standard set by Jabloteh in youth football.
"We have a brand in our youth programme,” he pointed out. “ …and we ask players coming into Jabloteh to honour this brand which has a history of success.”
“We have Thane [Devenish], our second choice goalkeeper we used as a wide outfield player and he scored nine goals in the tournament including two hat-tricks; Joachim Calendar, a stalwart at the back; Kendell Castle, who has improved in midfield; Ability Hazel, captain of the team who has done an excellent job in keeping a lot of clean sheets; and we have [Lindell] Sween, another top goal scorer for us. These players make up the backbone of the team that has made us successful for the 2019 season,” said a glowing Jeffrey.
He added, “Coaches Weekes and Morales have assisted me in the success of the team and the administrative managers making everything possible administratively are Charmaine Villafana and Cyril George, so it was a total effort and the success belongs to everyone at the club.”
Jabloteh U13s, meanwhile, is looking ahead to the Youth Pro League Cup (knockout) May 26 – June 16, and the Concacaf U13 Champions League in August.
Looking ahead, Jeffrey said the YPL Cup competition will provide a huge challenge for his outfit, pointing out that Under-13 teams such as Central FC, North East Stars and Club Sando are very good teams.
“In knockout, it’s on the day so we must prepare to go very hard. It will be a final for us against every team we face.”
“We welcome the challenges as we prepare for the CONCACAF Under-13 Champions League.
He added, "We reached the quarterfinals the two times before and this year we want to go one step further. So everything now will fall under our preparation for Concacaf,” ended Jeffrey.
Jabloteh visits Sando at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on Sunday 19 May for their final league match before the Youth Pro League knockout competition begins around the corner—May 26 – June 16.
The race for the YPL Under-15 and Under-17 titles, however, goes down to the wire on final league day next Sunday with four teams in each division still standing with a mathematical chance.
Club Sando (19 points) leads the Under-17 table after eking a 1-0 win over W Connection but Angus Eve’s players are just one point ahead of Police FC and Pt Fortin Civic (both on 18 points) after the young Blues defeated the Pt Fortin side 3-1 on Sunday.
W Connection and Central (both on 16 points) occupy fourth and fifth respectively on the Under-17 standings ahead of Sunday’s final match day.
Terminix La Horquetta Rangers (18 points) leads the Under-15 standings and will welcome Defence Force on Sunday at D’Abadie Recreation Ground in hopes of holding off Jabloteh (17 points), Police (16 points) and Civic (16 points) for the division’s title.
Other final league day fixtures include Civic hosting Morvant Caledonia United at Mahaica Oval and Police against host North East Stars at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Pt Fortin Civic 1 (Kwesi Seales 25th) vs Police FC 3 (Stephon James 29th, 60th, 67th, Tyrese Manswell 54th)
Pt Fortin Civic 0 vs Police FC 0
Pt Fortin Civic 1 (Darion Campbell 50th) vs Police FC 3 (Matthias Hinkson 26th, Erin Steeple 51st, 80th)