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Force vow to do their duty

Military men Defence Force have vowed to defend their country's honour when they do battle with Dandy Town in tonight's CFU Club Championship qualifier.

The Teteron Boys, whose players all serve as soldiers or sailors in Trinidad's armed forces, start the first leg at BAA Field as heavy favourites having clinched their first domestic title for 11 years in this season's Digicel Pro League.

But their coach Ross Russell, who played in the Championships as a Force player, has warned his team not to underestimate their opponents, who he admits to “not having a clue about”.

“Last year we won the league in Trinidad and we have some experienced players. But we're not taking anybody lightly and we come here cautious,” said Russell. “We haven't a clue about (Dandy Town) and in football it's eleven players versus eleven, so anything can happen.”

The Force, whose travelling squad boasts three Trinidad internationals, are learning to live without their star striker Devon Jorsling who they recently sold to Orlando City in the USL Pro League.

He plundered 16 goals this term to help the Force qualify for the Championships and Russell concedes his team have less firepower without Jorsling's threat up front.

They will also be without injured winger Kevon Carter who is still recovering from a broken leg.

“Our key player (Jorsling) we sold to Orlando and he scored all the goals for us so we want to see how we cope without him,” said Russell.

Even without Jorsling's goals, Russell is quietly confident the Force have enough ammunition in their armoury to shoot down Hornets in tonight's clash.

“We're a full time professional team but we're all soldiers and sailors as well,” he said.

“Our first duty is to defend our country which we have come here to do when we play football.”

The Force are the only club from the Caribbean to have won the Concacaf Champions League crown, in 1985, when they beat Honduran side CD Olimpia, and were the dominant club in local football during the 1980s and early 1990s.

And Hornets coach Jomar Wilkinson is well aware of the tough challenge ahead for his side and stressed the importance of pulling off a positive result in the home leg.

“Our players are up for it and we're confident of getting a result so we can go down to Trinidad in the away leg to achieve what we want to achieve,” said Wilkinson, whose side won the Premier Division title last campaign.

Hornets are still some way shy of the $50,000 needed to cover the costs of their away leg on March 19, with the gate receipts from tonight's game going towards their target.

Bermuda Football Association have agreed to pay $20,000 for Hornets, leaving the already cash-strapped side scrambling to raise the remaining balance.

Yesterday, Wilkinson urged the –Island to turn out and support his team tonight and act as their “12th man”.

“We're encouraging Bermudians to come out and support us as we expect the Trini posse to come out and support their team,” he said. “Our supporters can really help push us forward and be our 12th man.”

Other than Antonio Lowe and Dante Leverock, who are both unavailable –because of overseas studies, Wilkinson has a full strength squad at his –disposal.

For Hornets it will be the second time they have played in the Championships. Back in 1989 they lost in the first round against Brooklyn Italians.

n Tonight's game is at BAA Field and kicks off at 8pm. Entry is $15 for adults and children under-12 $8.

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Published March 10, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 10, 2011 at 8:35 am)

Force vow to do their duty

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