Thomas wary but has high expectations
Portmore United coach Shavar Thomas said they are wary of all the teams they will face in Group B of their CFU Caribbean Club Championship first-round games at the Estadio Cidao FC in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominica Republic, starting on Wednesday.
The Red Stripe Premier League leaders will get their campaign going against 2015 and 2016 champions Central from Trinidad and Tobago, in a repeat of last season's third-place play-off match.
However, he said that they have scouted the teams and know what to look for, while maintaining that the expectation is to qualify and move on to the next stage.
"Our expectation is to advance from the round, but we are not taking anybody lightly. International football is a different level, whoever you play they must have some quality and competence to get this far. But we are going there expecting and wanting to win and advance," he told STAR Sports.
"We have seen all of them a little. We have seen highlights of games and there are quality players on the three teams, but we have been doing our homework to see how best we can go up against them and get the results we want," he continued.
The experience the players gained from last season's tournament, when they finished third after beating Central 4-3 on penalties, he also believes will serve them invaluably in this year's tournament.
"It will help because a lot of players who are on the squad now were in the squad last season during the club championship, so they are not going into anything new and that (experience) should help us," he said.
He also expects players like Malique Foster and Ricardo Morris to take their good form into the tournament.
Portmore face Central in their first game on Wednesday, before taking on home team Altantico of in the second game on Friday. They then close off against Racing of Haiti on Sunday.
The winner of the group will advance to 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, the second and third-place teams will qualify for the 2018 CONCACAF League, while the fourth-place team will enter a play-off for a place in the 2018 CONCACAF League.