Combine Anthony Wolfe, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, Hayden Tinto and Akeem Adams and you have the makings of a pretty good football team. All have worn the national senior team uniform, and also play for new Pro League club Central FC.
On Friday night, at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, the Central "Sharks" made an okay first impression and also a successful Pro League debut when edging Police 1-0 on a 67th minute penalty. Wolfe converted a low spot-kick past Police keeper Emmanuel Nurse after defender Errol Charles gave away the penalty when he needlessly handled Tinto's cross.
Central FC should have doubled their tally, but failing to score, there was always the chance that Police might pull level. The Sharks only escaped with full points when, in the dying seconds, keeper Phillip got a boot to the mid-rift and injured himself when putting in a desperate lunging tackle which kept the ball out of his goal.
English head coach, Graham Rix and the Central FC management team of Brent Sancho and company have put together a formidable bunch in a short time. Also in the squad are Marc Leslie and Kevaughn Connell, both formerly of North East Stars; Cyrano Glen, younger brother of Soca Warrior Cornell Glen; ex-T&TEC defender Corneal Thomas; Sayid Freitas (Joe Public); 2010 Schoolboy MVP Darryl Trim (Signal Hill); Shaquille Nesbitt (St Ann's Rangers), Keron Cummings (W Connection) and Keion Goodridge (Joe Public).
Having had his problems with the law, serving two years in prison, former England footballer and Chelsea player/coach Rix is attempting to revive his career from the bottom up—in the far off Caribbean.
His Sharks looked marginally better than a competitive Police squad, and had chances but lacked a lethal finisher.
Substitute Nesbitt picked out left-midfielder Tyronne Charles with a rasping low cross to the back post, which took keeper Nurse out of the equation. Facing an open goal, and just six metres out, the tentative Shark tried to trap the ball, allowing Errol Charles to put in a saving tackle and make up somewhat for the penalty he gave away. Earlier, in the 55th minute, Tyronne Charles floated the ball over the crossbar after having a clean look at goal.
Former Trinidad and Tobago under-17 FIFA World Cup striker, Stephen Knox had Police's best chance when he shot over bar from just inside the area. Police also forced a couple of acrobatic saves from Sharks keeper, Phillip.
In the second game of the Manny Ramjohn double-header, champions DirecTV W Connection opened their 2012-2013 Pro League season and title defence with a 1-1 draw against First Citizens Cup champions, Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA.
Currently the two best football clubs in T&T, both teams attempted to play attractive, passing football.
Hard-kicking Andrei Pacheco blasted W Connection ahead in the 15th minute when his 30-metre thunderbolt free-kick kissed the right upright before beating the expansive dive of AIA custodian Glenroy Samuel. Certainly a "Play of the Day" moment.
But striker Nathan Lewis had AIA level just three minutes into the second half with an equally mouth-watering finish, when faking to pass across the goalmouth, then beating W Connection goalie Aquelius Sylvester with a low chip at the near post.
Caledonia also struck a post through overlapping right back Kareem Joseph, and missed a couple other half chances as well, while Pacheco attempted to replicate his free-kick in the second half, goalie Samuel palming the hot shot away from Caledonia's goal.