Silverware among focus of new D/Force technical director Kelshall Alexander

Marvin Gordon remains as head coach

(from left to right) Kelshall Alexander pictured with Kathy Marcelle, James Baird, and Ryan Shim, all showing off their TTFF/Dutch C License coaching certificates in January 2012. This week Alexander has been installed as technical director at Defence Force Football Club.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Tobagonian Kelshall Alexander has been installed as technical director of Defence Force Football Club -- the position previously held by former head coach Ross Russell -- and the former player and captain wants to push for everything left on offer this season.

With current Digicel Pro League leaders Central FC (46 points from 21 matches) and second position defending champions W Connection (43 points from 20 matches) already caging the top two places while battling for the crown, Alexander eyes the next best spot – third.

Defence Force are fourth on the DPL 2014-2015 standings with 30 points from 20 matches, tied with fifth-placed Point Fortin Civic, and two points behind third-placed North East Stars, who have 32 points from 21 matches.

Also the upcoming Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and season-ending Digicel Pro Bowl titles are among the focus of the 41-year-old corporal, Alexander, who served as Defence Force Super League coach in the last four seasons.

“Our immediate goals include aiming at a third position finish in the league, which is a realistic goal. Also the two remaining Cups are among our focus. We are going to give it our best because we want to make our supporters and even past soldiers and players proud. I think we have short-changed ourselves in the past few seasons where the Cups are concerned.”

Alexander will lead the present technical staff inclusive of head coach Marvin Gordon and assistant coach Anton Joseph, who, like Alexander, are former Defence Force top-flight players.
Defence Force head coach Marvin Gordon.
Lance Corporal Gordon, a longtime assistant to the most successful coach of Defence Force in recent years, Ross Russell, took over as interim head coach at the end of Russell’s tenure in December but now occupies the position minus the “interim”.

Russell, a former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and present coach at various national youth teams, last held the rank of Staff Sergeant before compulsory retirement, based on his age and rank, forced him out of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, where he had established himself as a dedicated servant to the military and country for 26 years.

Russell’s successes as head coach of the Defence Force top-flight team included winning the army/coastguard combination’s two Pro League championships (2010-2011 & 2012-2013), the First Citizens Cup (2009) and the Digicel Pro Bowl (2012) during his spell, which began in 2009.

“Definitely big shoes to fill,” admitted Alexander, a midfielder then defender during his playing days. “Ross Russell did well and he has left us with a lot of good things. I was around and learned a lot from him. But we have our own style and the responsibility now is one that I am looking forward to.”

On his new appointment, Alexander, holder of a Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) D License and Dutch C License, said, “I think the appointment came because of my playing and coaching experience; that gave me the nod for the position.”

Alexander, who steered the Defence Force Super League team to a runners-up finish in last season’s National Super League (NSL) behind champions and Pro League-bound Club Sando, is also former player and coach at his hometown club Patienceville United, a former captain of the now defunct Futgof and Joe Public. He also serves as coach at the Joe Public coaching school.

“We (Defence Force technical staff) know that we have a big responsibility now,” Alexander said. “But working with the technical staff (coach Gordon and assistant coach Joseph) I see us taking the team forward.

“When I look at the team… the players we have boast a wealth of talent. But we fall short of the right attitude. So we will be working on getting the right attitude from the players so that we can be a more forceful team in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, and in Concacaf,” ended the new Defence Force technical director.