MEMBERS of the Defence Force’s Pro League team plan to dedicate the 2018 First Citizens Cup to their central defender Jamali Garcia, who could miss the rest of the local football season after suffering a broken left leg during a match against Club Sando on July 6.
Defence Force will meet Central FC in today’s final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. Kick-off time is 7 pm.
The 26-year-old Garcia has begun therapy after undergoing surgery last week.
Defence Force coach Marvin Gordon, in an interview on Tuesday, noted, “All the reviews from the doctors and everybody after the surgery was good. Whereas they were saying six months might be the time back, it might be before that because he’s young and he’s fit.”
Gordon added, “He should be at the stadium supporting the guys. It’s only fitting that he’ll be a part of the celebrations. The guys really want to win it for him.
He’s in good spirits and he knows he’ll be taken care of. The army looks after their own.”
Concerning the mood within the squad, Gordon stated, “The mood is great. I said at the launch that I want to go one better than last (year), which is to win it all.”
Defence Force suffered a 3-1 loss to W Connection in the 2017 final.
The Army-Coast Guard combination will be vying for their fourth First Citizens Cup, having triumphed in 2002, 2009 and 2016.
Central FC have lifted this trophy twice, in 2013 and 2014.
“We’re one step away,” said Gordon. “Everybody’s upbeat, everybody knows that it’s going to be difficult but they’re willing to do everything to get the result.” Gordon has hailed the roles played by the team’s new additions this season, including Brent Sam, Dylon King and Reon Moore.
“Since last season I was trying to get Sam because I see Sam as a key part of what I want to do in the future,” Gordon said. “Sam came in and he fit right into the plans, he understands the way I want my players to play. He’s been doing a fantastic job.
“Last season, Dylon was a little quiet,” Gordon continued. “Throughout this tournament, (he’s grown) from leaps and bounds. Reon Moore established himself a little faster.”
Gordon admitted that his emphasis on youth this season is with an eye on the future.
“My attitude as a coach was always trying to look forward,” he said. “The man who takes over after me must have young quality players. With the experienced players, (I’m) asking them to help me to guide the youngsters to understand the culture in Army.”
Central FC defeated the Army-Coast Guard combination 2-1 in the group phase.
According to the Defence Force tactician, “We’ve played five games in this tournament and Central FC (are) the only team that beat us. They were brilliant in their tactics, they had two moments in the game and they scored two goals. For me, they start as favourites.
“We’ve learnt from the last time when we played Central. For me, the main thing is the concentration level of my players.”