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Army, Central chase Cup honours
Marvin Gordon, the head coach of three-time winners and last season’s defeated finalist Defence Force FC, says it is no surprise to him that the Tetron Boys are into the final of the 2018 First Citizens Cup, taking on Central FC at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. Kick-off is at 7 pm.
“It is no surprise for me that we are in the final with one more hurdle for the title,” Gordon said this week.
“Before the start of the tournament and at the launch, I said that we (Defence Force) will go all the all the way to the final and even go one better (than last season when we lost the final 3-1 to W Connection) to win the title.”
The Defence Force coach added, “It is the confidence that I have as a coach in our squad. The confidence in what we are doing on the training pitch, and the belief in our players. The players also believe in what the coaching staff members are doing.”
Off the pitch and on it, it is also no surprise that the First Citizens Cup final will boast the biggest giveaways including a flat screen television, a security system, and TT$10,000 in ‘dash-for-cash’ as spectators will undoubtedly be the big winners.
Gates open from 5 pm on the final day which will also feature a live performance from Sejoux Leo Star. The largest and loudest First Citizens staff crew will also receive a cooler packed with drinks.
Non-Pro League teams will get a chance to win TT5,000 ‘dash-for-cash’ at 6 pm, while Pro League teams will get their shot during the half-time interval of the final. The rule, however, is that teams, Pro League and non-Pro League, must have ten (10) or more players in their respective team jersey to qualify a player for the ‘dash-for-cash’.
But in the main event Central, First Citizens Cup champions of 2013 and 2014, is keen on reuniting with the prestigious knockout title.
Central FC technical staff also believe in the strength of its team which boasts the likes of T&T's 2006 World Cup squad members Densill Theobald and Anthony Wolfe, current T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, Jared London, Akim Armstrong and Kerry Baptiste, many of who could celebrate their first title with the Couva Sharks.
Central FC needed a marathon penalty shootout to edged Police FC 7-6 from the spot following a 1-1 draw to reach the final after Defence Force had comfortably dispatched Morvant Caledonia United 4-0 in the first match of last week Friday’s semi-final double-header.
Central FC which is coached by legendary T&T forward Stern John, is the only team to defeat Defence Force so far this season, and did so with a 2-1 group stage win on June 22 courtesy resolute defending and a brilliant double from winger Tyrone Charles, who hit the back of the net seconds into the first and second halves.
John said, “Every club wants to win the First Citizens Cup,” said John, a former Birmingham City, Sunderland and Southampton forward. “It is the equivalent of the FA Cup in England. I cannot express how proud I am of my players and staff to fight their way into the final despite immense personal pressures placed on them. Many footballers would become distracted by the current situation, which has resulted in our players not receiving full salaries. But even so, when they cross that white line, they've given me 100 per cent."
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