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Sunday 17 December 2017
Football

Epic battle expected at FA Trophy final

W Connection captain Hughtun Hector (left) and Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette pose with the TTFA FA Trophy in a media conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva yesterday.

An epic battle is being promised by both W Connection and Police when the 2017 Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) FA Trophy final takes place at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva tomorrow from 8 pm.

After an absence of two years, the TTFA reintroduced the competition this year, and a jackpot of $100,000 is at stake for the champion team.

North East Stars won the last final in the 2014-2015 season, defeating Connection 5-4 courtesy kicks from the penalty spot, after a 0-0 scoreline at the end of full-time.

Overall, Connection have lifted the trophy four times (1999, 2000, 2002 and 2013-2014) while Police have been victorious three times (1975, 1990 and 1994).

During a pre-game media conference yesterday at the media room, Ato Boldon Stadium, Police coach Richard Hood said, “We want to ask the fans to come out and support the game. It’s not going to be a battle, it’s going to be an epic battle.”

Connection’s assistant coach Earl Jean replied, “Epic, yes it will be.”

He joked, “We need our bonuses before we go on holidays. I’m sure the players would be all fired up for this game.”

In the semi-final double-header, at Couva, Connection whipped 1976 Phoenix FC 3-0 while Police breezed past Morvant Caledonia United 5-1.

Hood thanked the TTFA for bringing back the tournament after a two-year absence.

“I was really happy that the TTFA decided to reintroduce the FA (Trophy) this year,” said Hood. “It is a most prestigious tournament in any footballing country. I’m really happy to see the monetary incentives for the tournament.”

Hood noted that he had to use a number of younger players in this tournament as it coincided with the running of the TT Pro League. “Fortunately we have a large (group) of players,” he said. “I look forward to the final. It’s going to be a tough one but we’re looking forward to it.”

The Police coach also mentioned that acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams have also thrown his support behind the team.

“We have not done as well as we have hoped in the League,” said Hood, referring to the team’s eighth-place finish in the 10-team Pro League. “This is the final opportunity to (correct) things.

“After we played the semi-final, the next morning, the Commissioner called to find out what was the result. He has said it’s time we lifted something.”

Jean stated that his squad is keen to regain the FA Trophy.

“We’re looking forward to taking it home,” Jean said. “We had a difficult schedule and it gave us an opportunity to showcase more players from our youth team. We want Police to know that we’re ready.” The former Connection and St Lucia striker continued, “We know that after they cross the white line they’re civilians. It will be no intimidation. We’re ready and we’re waiting for them.

However, Jean acknowledged, “No final is the same. They know it’s a battle against Police and it will be a challenge for them. It’s not going to be easy for any team. I like how the TTFA has been pushing the game.”

National and Police goalkeeper Adrian Foncette noted that the team have been striving to get their hands on the title for the first time in nearly a quarter-century.

“It’s a good feeling to be here,” said Foncette. “It’s been a while since Police have been in a major final (and) some 23 years since we’ve lifted some kind of silverware. So that motivates us.”

Another TT player, Connection’s captain and midfielder Hughtun Hector, pointed out, “Anytime we’re playing against Police it’s always a physical battle and we prepared for it in training.”

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