The quest for the 2014 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship and a place in the CONCACAF Champions League begins tonight.
Twelve of the top teams from the region face off from March 21 until March 25 at three separate venues within the Caribbean.
The games will be played simultaneously in Haiti (Mirebalais Stadium), Puerto Rico (Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium) and Jamaica (Harbour View Stadium). The tournament consists of three groups, 1, 2 and 3 with four teams in Groups 1&2 and three teams in Group 3 with the winner of last season Valencia Football Club from Haiti obtaining a bye into the final round.
Centro Dominguito from Curacao, Bayamon from Puerto Rico, Bodden Town from the Cayman Islands and Unite Saint Rosienne from Guadeloupe make up group 1. In Group 2 there are Association Sportive de Mirebalais from Haiti, Waterhouse Football Cub from Jamaica, Inter Moegotopoe from Suriname and Caledonia AIA from Trinidad and Tobago.
Group 3 features hosts Harbour View Football Club from Jamaica, Alpha United from Guyana and Defence Force Football Team from Trinidad & Tobago. Last year, the tournament saw the likes of Caledonia AIA, Bayamon FC and Valencia, while teams such as Harbour View, Waterhouse FC, Alpha United, and Bodden Town FC are no strangers to this event.
Teams making their debut are Association Sportive de Mirebalais (Haiti), Inter Moengotapoe (Suriname) and Unite Saint Rosienne (Guadeloupe). Valencia FC sits comfortably waiting to defend their position as top team in the last competition after getting a bye into the final round.
This team has been active and could be a tough contender in the race for the title and the three places up for grabs. Harbour View the defending champions of Jamaica’s top seasonal football competition, the Red Stripe Premier League are in second position at this point in time.
The team played well during the earlier stages of the competition and were clearly leading the pack in the first round. Waterhouse FC are currently in third position in the Red Stripe Premier League and were placed second in last season’s competition.
They have peaked and although their main striker Jermaine “Tuffy” Anderson is currently in El Salvador doing what he does best (scoring goals) the team is well balanced and could well be a nightmare for its opponents in Haiti. Alpha United FC is the top team in Guyana they have made their mark at this level before and we the first and only team from Guyana to make it to the CONCACAF Champions League.
The team is presently at the top of the tables in the top competition in Guyana and according to the point standings have not lost one game in that competition so far. They too stand a good chance in making it to the finals.
Bodden Town FC are not unfamiliar with this competition, they are at the top of their domestic league in the Cayman Islands and have recently captured the Presidents Cup one of the most coveted trophies played for seasonally. Seasoned contenders Caledonia AIA are currently one of the nine professional teams that compete in the TT Pro League in Trinidad and Tobago
For the last four seasons the club has been consistent in their local championships, though not winning the league but finishing among the top 3 and winning several Cup tournaments in that period.
The team is coached by former Guyana and T&T Coach Jamaal Shabazz. Association Sportive de Mirebalais, Inter Moengotapoe and Unite Saint Rosienne are new kids on the block.
Categorizing these teams as underdogs would not be fair, therefore we will wait and see how best they will shoulder the wheels and do battle with these seasoned teams.