Sun, Jul

Head coach of the Defence Force Lloyd Andrews

Defence Force will head into CONCACAF Caribbean Cup action against Jamaica’s Cavalier FC at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo on Thursday from 8 pm.

Playing in Group A the Teteron Barracks men will have one thing and one thing only on their minds, and it’s to start the campaign positively with three points. It has been a perfect season thus far for the army/coastguard combination unit winners of both the Trinidad and Tobago Premier Football League (T&TPFL) league and Knockout titles in July.

The team is seeking to take that momentum into the Concacaf campaign seeking a third title of the season.

The return to this regional stage has been long in coming after they won CONCACAF Champions Cup crowns in 1978 and 1985 and were also winners of the 2001 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.

Captain and the defender with the goal-scoring touch Justin Garcia is relishing the opportunity to lead the squad into battle as they aim to create even more history.

Speaking during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday he said: “This is a tournament we have been wanting to play in for the longest while. It was one of our goals at the beginning of the season and we have worked really hard to get here. We have been putting in that extra work since the season ended locally, we know where our weaknesses were so we ratified them and are stronger now.”

Evidence of this is the signing of four new players to strengthen their squad with midfielder Nathaniel Garcia and goalkeeper Jabari St Hillaire, both of whom last played for Terminix La Horquatta Rangers, Defenders Isaiah Garcia was signed from Point Fortin Civic and Darnell Hospedales, a former AC Port-of-Spain standout.

Having a sneak peek of the opposition, the head coach of the Defence Force Lloyd Andrews also told the media: “Despite their speed, technically they seem to be not as sound. We are going to play our game and do the things we know and do them well. We will be aiming to spread the ball, use the entire width of the pitch and starve them of the ball.”

Cavalier FC who arrived in T&T on Monday are no strangers to big occasions, They have some pedigree under their belt having won two Jamaica Premier League titles along with three knockout titles in recent years including this season to book their place in this tournament.

However, they will be lacking some firepower as they will be without their marquee player Colin Anderson who secured a contract with North Macedonia outfit F.C Bregalnica. The 23-year-old scored 20 goals over the season propelling them to finish second in the Jamaican Premier League standings and all the way to the Cup Final.

Head coach Rudolph Speid is confident his side can get the job done on the road despite transferring six players overseas. “We know we have a tough game tomorrow, we have seen that they (Defence Force) are big and strong, they are champions who know how to win games. In contrast, we have the youngest professional football team in the world and with a lot of teenagers within the squad and the oldest player just 24 years old That speaks to the youth and eagerness that we will be aiming to play with, giving the young and brave a chance”.

Tickets are priced at $50 for Covered and $25 for Uncovered and can be purchased at the venue.


Cavalier FC counting on new blood for Army clash.
By Jelani Beckles (T&T Newsday).

HEAD coach of Cavalier FC, Rudolph Speid, is confident his players can fill the void left by top goal scorer Collin Anderson when the Jamaican outfit tackle T&T's Defence Force in the Concacaf Caribbean Cup at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain at 8 pm on Thursday.

Defence Force had a memorable year winning the TT Premier League knockout and league titles. Cavalier narrowly missed out on winning the Jamaica Premier League title losing in the final 2-1 against Mt Pleasant. Anderson, who found the back of the net 20 times during the season, was the goal scorer for Cavalier on the night.

Anderson left Cavalier last month to play in Macedonia for Bregalnica Stip.

On missing Anderson, Speid said, "We transferred six players overseas since the start of the we are going to see some new players this time. It is the next man up, we have a lot of good players. People like Ronaldo Robinson are going to be taking over that role and let's hope that he does a good job."

The players are ready for the match, said Speid. "Our mood is good. We know we have a tough game tomorrow, so we are preparing well. We came here on Monday and we have settled in, so it is just a matter of trying to execute tomorrow."

Speid described his team as the youngest professional team with the team made of players between 16 and 24. He knows Defence Force have more seasoned campaigners in their roster.

Asked about Cavalier's game plan for Thursday's match, Speid did not want to give out the team's secret.

"We do have a game model and a game strategy, but we don't want to give away too much."

Fans interested in watching the match must pay $50 for the covered section and $25 for the uncovered section.