Defence Force has pledged “football war” against Caledonia AIA ahead of Thursday’s Digicel Pro Bowl Final from 8pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium between the northern clubs.
Defence Force, late campaigners in the 2011-12 season as a result of the State of Emergency installed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for three months last year, have enjoyed a creditable run despite the major hiccup.
The Soldiers failed to defend its Digicel Pro League title, finishing fourth with 32 points, eight behind winners W Connection(40 points) and separated by T&TEC FC(39 points) and Caledonia(38 points) but reached three Finals(FA Trophy, Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and now the Digicel Pro Bowl) this season.
The Ross Russell coached outfit was outfought 1-0 and 3-1 respectively in the FA and Goal Shield against Caledonia but plans to change things this time around.
“Anyone missing this (Digicel Pro Bowl) Final would me missing a treat,” guaranteed Russell. “This is the Final match of the season and we would be giving it everything we got.”
The 2010-11 Defence Force League winning coach added that his side is very prepared unlike the previous Final meetings against the Morvant/Laventille club.
Russell, who considers his friendship with Caledonia coach Jamaal Shabazz a very good one, said that on the field, “it would be a football war… It would be a technical and tactical clash of two teams that are from very different backgrounds.”
He continued, “You can expect Defence Force to come out winners this time around. We are coming out to win the game. We are going to rise above everything.
If you watch the last [knockout tournament] we scored a lot of goals. We seem to be the goals team. I have goals coming from all over the field as well as spectacular ones. In the last Final against Caledonia, it’s just that they got the goals on the day. However we had the better chances butjust didn’t put them away.”
This season Caledonia also enjoyed victories over the Soldiers League clashes with 3-2 wins in Round Two and Three, with the Russell coached side taking a 2-1 result in Round One.
However the former Trinidad and Tobago international said he won’t swap his bunch of players for any other.
“This is the same bunch of players that won fourteen straight games last season and went on to win the League. I believe in my players and won’t switch my bunch for any other team. It’s just that sometimes in football things don’t go your way,” he said.
When asked about his general take on Defence Force’s performance this season, Russell conveyed, “I think it was a good performance by the lads.
We only had two weeks to prepare unlike other teams having two months. But we won’t use that as an excuse because basketball team started their preparation late as well and they won their League. So a win [for us in the Digicel Pro Bowl Final] will do our unit good. We are in full flight right now to end the season with the title. And to answer the question, I think we’ve had a good season,” concluded the Army coach.
Digicel Pro Bowl Final
Thursday 17 May 2012
Hasely Crawford Stadium
(Trincity Nationals vs Real Dimension)Women’s League Football match—6pm
Caledonia AIA vs Defence Force—8pm