Digicel Charity Shield holders DIRECTV W Connection and last season’s defeated opponents Defence Force will face off again on Friday 6 September when the second edition takes place from 7pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Charity Shield pots the winners of the Digicel Pro League, in this case, Defence Force, and the winners of the Digicel Pro Bowl, in this case, W Connection. The winner is awarded a TT$10,000 donation from Digicel which will go towards a charitable cause identified by the club.
One year ago Connection, back then the reigning League champions, lifted the Charity Shield by defeating then Pro Bowl champions Defence Force 2-0 at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium through a goal each by Shahdon Winchester and Joevin Jones, the match MVP.
The club was quick to hand over the cheque to then goalkeeper and captain Jan Michael Williams to offset medical expenses for his fiancée Candice Worrell. The former beauty queen was brutally assaulted outside her workplace in January 2012 and was comatose for nearly three months.
A lot has happened since Connection lifted the Shield.
Worrell’s health has been improving steadily; Winchester was loaned to Finland’s FF Jaro from January 2013; and in that same month a verbal bust-up between goalkeeper Williams and Connection Head Coach Stuart Charles Fevrier led to a split.
Williams, Trinidad and Tobago’s first choice goalie, has since then represented St. Ann’s Rangers on a short stint from April to May, and recently joined Connection’s cross-town rivals Central FC ahead of the 2013-14 season.
Defence Force’s roster meanwhile, will look pretty much the same this time around with the exception of last season’s top scorer Devorn Jorsling who is presently on an army promotional course towards the rank of lance corporal and midfielder Curtis Gonzales is currently with the T&T Senior Team, while Connection are expected to showcase a number of recent imports.
Connection’s pre-season signings includes Brazilians Celio Guilherme Da Silva Santos and João Ananias Jordão Júnior, Colombians Yefer Steven Lozano Rubiano, Yhon Stiven Reyes Lopez and Camilo Andres Ortega Diaz, and Italian striker Mirko Delia who have all been part of the club’s Concacaf Champions League 2013-14 season campaign.
The “Savonnetta Boys” roster this season also includes goalkeepers Alejandro Figueroa, Aquelius Sylvester and Julani Archibald; defenders Daneil Cyrus, Mekeil Williams, Kurt Frederick, Leslie Russell, Christian Viveros, Brendon Boucaud and Alvin Jones; midfielders Joevin Jones, Gerard Williams, Jomal Williams, Andrei Pacheco, Clyde Leon, Silvio Spann, Tremain Shayn Paul; and forwards Stefano Rijssel, Hashim Arcia, Neil Benjamin Jr., Devaughn Elliot and Jerrel Britto.
However Cyrus and Mekeil Williams, heading off to Saudi Arabia with the T&T squad for the invitational OSN Cup that runs from September 5-9 in Riyadh, will miss Friday’s Charity Shield defense.
And as it looks for Defence Force Head Coach Ross Russell, team captain and defender Corey Rivers leads a roster inclusive of goalkeepers Kevin Graham and Sheldon Clarke; defenders Devin Jordan, Marvin Jones, Rodell Elcock, Glynn Franklyn, Aklie Edwards; midfielders Jerwyn Balthazar, Dexter Pacheco, Josimar Belgrave, Jemel Sebro, Kerry Joseph, Sean Narcis, Ross Russell Jr.; and attackers Kevon Carter and 2011-12 TT Pro League/Toyota Player of the Year Richard Roy.