Football

Kentish Cup 2019: UK Armed Forces Footballers Prepare For Tough Tests

Their games against the Dutch and French Forces will be LIVE on the Forces News Facebook page and on forces.net.

The UK Armed Forces team are looking to win their fourth successive Kentish Cup in the Netherlands.

The matches against the Dutch and French Forces could see the UKAF players retain the trophy they have held since 2014.

The five-day tournament is recognised by UEFA and FIFA as the oldest cup competition in Europe.

The Kentish Cup has been cancelled twice in the last five years, but the core of the UKAF team has remained the same since their 2014 win.

Key player Sapper Dan Stoneman said: “The management is always banging on about being together and being three teams as one. We do things as a unit.  

“We’re not the Navy, the Army and the RAF. We are all one team.”

Lieutenant Andrew Todd has been with the team for the past five years and is pleased that the squad's dynamic has stayed the same.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “The same core group of people have been here since I have been involved and we are bringing new lads in every year who are adding to the strength in depth of the squad."

UKAF player Andrew Todd nearly missed this year's Kentish Cup due to his Navy commitments.

“It’s really exciting. I hopefully have a few more left in me yet, but I am getting a bit older," Lt Todd said.

“It’s just great to be involved and I can only see it moving on. Where the gaffer has bought us from five years ago to where we are now is only building from strength to strength,” he added.

Todd nearly missed out on this year’s tournament due to his duties but has managed to secure the time to play.

He said: “I’m currently serving on HMS Kent which is out in the Middle East. A big thanks to the chain of command on there for getting me off and flying me home early for this.

“Best of luck to the lads and lasses out there until they get back for Christmas.”

The games against the Dutch and the French provide stern tests for the UKAF players and Todd is expecting a challenge.

“It’s obviously going to be difficult. Away from home with European fixtures and the French are a very physical team. I enjoy that side of it and I’m looking forward to it.

“We’ll be up for the test. We have a great squad and we will go out there and do the business.”

Meanwhile, Stoneman explained what to expect from the matches:

“I think it is a constant intensity. It is an international fixture and there will be a lot of emotions. There will be a lot of demanding from yourself and the rest of the players.”

“It will be a really fast tempo quick game physically as well.”

You can watch both of UKAF's Kentish Cup fixtures LIVE on the Forces News Facebook page and on forces.net. Their first match is on Wednesday at 1:30pm and their final match is on Friday at 10:30am.