Can reigning champions Defence Force defend the title for the first time for a fourth First Citizens Cup? Or will W Connection lift an unprecedented eighth First Citizens Cup after both sides battle in the 2017 final from 8pm on Friday night at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Surely a contest worthy of both sides having previously been on the First Citizens Cup — earlier known as the League Cup — final stage a combined 18 times in the prestigious knockout tournament which dates back to 1999.
Friday’s final should produce an intriguing final for football fans who, once early, will be treated to what should also turn out an electric third-place match between Point Fortin Civic and Club Sando from 6pm.
Add that to the Kick for Cash and other giveaways courtesy title sponsor First Citizens on celebration night—truly, “Where Winners Reign”.
Connection, who defeated Central FC (3-1) and Club Sando (2-0) to reach this season’s final, have won the First Citizens Cup seven times while Defence Force are joint second with San Juan Jabloteh on three.
Defence Force defeated Jabloteh and Point Fortin Civic via the penalty spot to march into their ninth First Citizens Cup final following 3-3 draws in the quarter-final and semi-final rounds respectively.
“Winning on penalties haven’t dented our confidence a bit,” said Defence Force winger Reon Moore. “[In fact], both matches were great moral boosters for us. It showed great work by our team coming back late in both games to go on to win (from the penalty spot).
“The confidence in our team is pretty high without a doubt. We have been growing in confidence over the past months. The togetherness in the team is a lot stronger than in the beginning of the season and there is no stopping us now.
The Army/Coast Guard combination’s ten wins from their last twelve games in all competitions attests to coach Marvin Gordon transitioning side’s improvement following a rocky start to the truncated Pro League season.
And, although Connection boasts a slightly better record with 10 wins, one draw and just one loss in their last twelve games in all competitions, in comparison to Defence Force’s 10 wins and two losses, Gordon’s side’s 4-1 league win last July in the first and only meeting between the two powerhouses proved their capability.
Connection would look to put to sleep the misery of that whooping by dethroning the current First Citizens Cup holders.
“We expect the same Connection: a team that likes to possess the ball a lot,” added Moore, who celebrated a double the last time both sides met. “Our plan is to take them out of their comfort zone and once we are able to [execute] our [game plan] the win will be ours.
“We are highly motivated for this game. It is a final and a lot is at stake. This is a rivalry for us. We are not just representing our team when we take the field on Friday, we are representing the entire Defence Force.”
Gordon, ahead of the start of this season’s First Citizens Cup, vowed to defend the title he won as a player in 2002, again in 2009 as assistant coach, then last season (2016) as head coach—all with the Defence Force.
“I think we can go all the way back to the final and defend this title,” said the Defence Force coach back then. He added that “belief” was the key to his side winning the First Citizens Cup last season.
The Army/Coast Guard combination are now one win away from successfully defending the First Citizens Cup while veteran talisman Devorn Jorsling, last season’s First Citizens Cup MVP and Most Goals winner, leads the scoring with three goals, one more than Club Sando’s Akim Armstrong ahead of the final day.