It has been years since St Ann's Rangers have looked as good - that is on paper. And Defence Force are now back to full strength with the players who won the 2010 Pro League.
Today, the opening round of matches in the Digicel Pro League will see these two teams meeting in a North derby from 5 p.m., while Caribbean champions Caledonia AIA face North East Stars two hours later in the second match of a Hasely Crawford Stadium doubleheader.
Rangers have recruited heavily during the off season. Of last year's squad, they have retained only Devon Modeste, Hector Sam, Elijah Belgrave, Mikhil Awai, Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 striker Cameron Roget, and under-21 players Kyle Bartholomew and Theon James. Brought in is Ladulé Samora Peter Lako LoSarah , a very tall American striker of Sudanese parentage, who has played in Macedonia and the Czech Republic. They have also recruited American defender Daniel Torre, along with the former San Juan Jabloteh trio of Jamal Jack, Mikhail Awai and Christon Thomas, and also T&T Under-23 goalkeeper Zane Coker, who comes from Caledonia.
Former T&T international Dean Pacheco has been elevated to head coach and given the responsibility of grooming the talent into a winning bunch.
Likewise, Defence Force is also at full strength as well. Back is striker Devorn Jorsling, the League's top-scorer in 2010. Jorsling has since had a stint in the USA and also played with Caledonia's successful 2011-2012 squad. Add last year's Pro League top-scorer Richard Roy to the mix and pacey winger Kevon Carter, and coach Ross Russell has all the ingredients for a dangerous attack.
Russell can also call on Josimar Belgrave, Sean Narcis, Jerwin Balthazar and Aklie Edwards for attacking option, as well as his son Ross Russell Jr., who provided several important goals last season. Goalkeeper Kevin Graham is still there along with the regular defensive quartet.
UPCOMING DIGICEL PRO LEAGUE MATCHES:
6 p.m. - St Ann's Rangers v Defence Force, Hasely Crawford Stadium
8 p.m. - Caledonia AIA v NE Stars, Hasely Crawford Stadium
Saturday, September 15, 2012
5 p.m. - Police v T&TEC, Hasely Crawford Stadium