Defence Force forward Jamille Boatswain wants his teammates to rise above Central FC when both sides clash in the final of the Digicel Pro Bowl from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Sunday.
The season-ending Pro Bowl final will be the fourth clash between defending champions Defence Force and former winners Central this term. Central, who created history this season by becoming the first Pro League team to win the Digicel Pro League three times consecutively, had beaten the Army/Coast Guard combination in all three previous meetings.
But Central escaped defeat via an own goal and late penalty to win 2-1 after Hashim Arcia had given Army the first-half advantage when both sides last met on 24 January in the DPL, and Boatswain believes his side should take the positives from that contest.
Boatswain, who was used off the bench with six minutes left against Central the last time both sides met, said he is ready to lead from the front against the Couva Sharks.
“I would like to score more goals [on Sunday] and help my team win the [Pro Bowl] trophy,” added the 23-year-old Boatswain, who scored a hat-trick—his 4th, 5th and 6th goals in all competitions since joining Defence Force from Point Fortin Civic in the January transfer window—to help the Army to a 4-0 semi-final win over Police FC.
“Central will make it a competitive match and that’s what you want in a final,” he added. “We (Defence Force) must just work hard; defend hard, attack hard, and have the confidence in ourselves. Central defeated my teammates all season, and it was the same with Police, but look at what we achieved against Police [in the semi-final].”
Commenting on his first hat-trick in Defence Force colours, Boatswain said, “After the first goal it opened up the game for me and my confidence grew. And I just wanted to keep scoring as much as I could. It’s good to fit in so quickly with the team and good scoring my first hat-trick for the team.”
Boatswain also received a mid-week confidence boost. His recent performances has earned him a place in a 27-man provisional training squad with the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior Team set to begin training on Feb. 20 for upcoming World Cup 2018 qualifiers under new head coach Dennis Lawrence, who will be assisted by former England and Arsenal star Sol Campbell, T&T legend Stern John and W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
But first, Boatswain will be against arguably the best goalkeeper in the PL, T&T international Jan-Michael Williams, who was instrumental in lifting Central into Sunday’s final.
Jan-Michael made a save, then the winning kick during an eight round penalty shootout to dispatch Club Sando 5-4 following a 0-0 semi-final stalemate.
“It’s no surprise to me that we came out on top today, although it was a very difficult game,” said the Central goalie, following his team’s semi-final win. “Credit to Club Sando and their keeper (Kelvin Henry), they did extremely well.
“But we have the extra quality in our team and that’s what helped us.
“We [also] have the right coaching staff and technical team,” added Jan-Michael who went on to congratulate Central’s assistant coach Stern John for his appointment as a T&T assistant coach.
“We have the right pedigree in the coaching and players,” continued the Central FC shot-stopper. “We have the winning mentality, even in training sessions.”
Jan-Michael, however, believes Sunday’s Pro Bowl final will be an “extremely interesting” title match because “they (Defence Force) are going to make it hard for us.”
Digicel Pro Bowl 2016/17 season Final
(Sunday 19 February 2017)
Central FC vs Defence Force—6pm, Ato Boldon Stadium