A $100,000 champions prize is at stake this evening when Central FC battle Defence Force in the 2013 First Citizens Cup final.
The match takes place from six p.m. at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, and will be preceded one hour earlier by an exhibition game between a First Citizens Bank team and a Pro League coaches team.
Two year-old Central FC are in their first final and seeking a first major trophy, while Pro League champions Defence Force are in the final a second straight year after being beaten 2-1 last year by Caledonia AIA.
Central reached the 2013 final with a 2-1 win over North East Stars at the quarterfinal stage and a 3-2 victory on penalties against W Connection following a 0-0 draw in the semis.
Army, meanwhile, overturned last year’s defeat in the final, beating Caledonia by a 2-1 margin in the quarters. They then won 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 semifinal draw against San Juan Jabloteh.
The final offers great contrast--Defence Force have an all-powering attack, while Central’s style, as imposed by English coach Terry Fenwick, is constant hard work and stout defending. However, both teams predict an attacking game.
Central’s greatest goal-scoring threat is likely to be 19-year-old Tobagonian striker Rundell Winchester, who had a brief run when making his national team debut in Tuesday’s goalless draw with New Zealand. Veteran Hector Sam looks a rejuvenated player, while the captain, Jason Marcano, “Dread” midfielder Marvin Oliver, Darrin “Chucky” Mitchell and Johan Peltier also provide attacking power.
“We know Defence Force are not an easy team to compete against, but we are in it to win,” declared Central FC manager Norris Ferguson. “I think it will be an attacking game.”
Defence Force have many scoring options, including Devon Jorslyn, the Pro league top-scorer in two of the last three seasons, Richard Roy and Kevon Carter. Aklie Edwards and Jemel Sebro provide danger on the overlap, while Josimar Belgrave, Sean Narcis, Kerry Joseph and Jerwyn Baltazar can all score goals as well. Captain Corey Rivers, veteran Keston Williams, young T&T national team defender Curtis Gonzales and keeper Kevin Graham will try to keep “The Sharks” at bay.
Army assistant coach Marvin Gordon said Defence Force are taking nothing for granted against Central, who beat them 3-0 on the opening day of the Pro League season. The Army have been in camp since Wednesday and are at full strength.
“We are looking at nothing else but winning the First Citizens final. We will be on the go from the onset with Jorsling and Carter in the side,” Gordon said.
“Their strength is their pace, and we are also aware of set plays because they used some against us early in the season.”