Plank walking begins today as 21st K&S competition kicks off
BK Int. Western Tigers oppose Buxton United; Riddim Squad play Liquid Gold
The long wait is over for at least four teams as competition proper in the 21st Kashif & Shanghai Football Extravaganza gets underway at the GFC Ground in the City today with the first two matches.
The first match, a qualifier for the group-of-16 round brings together Georgetown’s Riddim Squad and Bartica’s Liquid Gold from 18:00hrs in what is anticipated to be a fierce match-up.
The feature clash will see defending champions BK International Western Tigers taking on Buxton United.
The Tigers, like the other teams have had to contend with the prolonged rainy season which has made preparations for all the competing teams somewhat challenging.
But Head Coach of the defending champs Kavin Pearce in his debut season with the side said that despite the weather being a factor and a challenge, they did not make it a concern. The team has been using the St. Pius Ground in Middle Road La Penitence as well as the National Gymnasium for their sessions.
Club Secretary Dexter Cush disclosed that grounds in the City were a major challenge due to rain which made the venues very soggy.
A number of warm-up matches were played, their latest being against Bakewell Topp XX of Linden on Saturday last which ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Peace disclosed that the game went well and a fit Topp XX really tested the defending champions.
“During our training we have worked quite a lot on defensive organisation, being more effective in midfield as well as our finishing.”
“As defending champs we are confident of being successful again and our players are confident in this regard. The Executive of the club has done their part and it is now up to the players to go out there and do what they know to do well, and that’s winning.”
Back with the team is Captain Delon Fraser and fellow defender Colin Nelson who were part of the championship team but left following some issues which have been resolved.
Unlike last year, the team will not have any guest players and will be relying on their home grown stars to carry them all the way.
The likes of Stellon David, Devon Moseley, Sherman David, Nedd Fraser, Lorenzo Duesbury, Ryan Thomas, Gideon Payne, Tyrell Joppy and goalkeeper Derrick Carter (2009/2010 MVP) will combine efforts for their side.
Pearce is urging fans and supporters to come out in their numbers to support their team tonight.
The Tigers’ opponents, Buxton United is a very young team but have proven that they have the temperament to hold their own against the best teams around.
Competing in the Guyana Football Federation organised and FIFA sponsored National Super League has been a booster for the young Buxtonians who will have to step it up a notch against the experienced Tigers.
Manager/Coach of Buxton, Mark Wade, speaking with Kaieteur Sport yesterday said his boys will not be intimidated by the defending champions and will do their best in tonight’s main attraction.
Wade said they had to make do with the weather but his charges are in high spirits ahead of this important game.
“We have a young but determined group of players. As long we stick to the basics we can do some upsetting tonight. We have a disciplined team and these guys have the right attitude which is good attribute that can take us to victory. We are fit and ready to perform.”
Leading Buxton will be National forward Clive Andries who has been their most prolific goal getter. Les Charles-Critchlow, Denver ‘Jonty’ Dennis, Keoma Sullivan, Orson Washington, Collison Barnwell, Travis and Michael Phyll, Justin Herod, Tyron Abrams; 16-year-old Okeme Edwards and Keon Norville and 17 year-old Ralph Moffatt will all have to play as a unit if they intend to tame the Tigers and book a place in the quarter finals.
The opening encounter between Riddim Squad and Liquid Gold has at stake a place for the winner in the group-of-16 round against Sunburst Camptown.
Carlton Beckles who is part of the Management of the Bartica based Liquid Gold has stated that they already have their sights on the game against Camptown but they are taking Riddim Squad more seriously than Camptown.
Preparations he informed went wet well and they already know what to expect from Riddim Squad.
“You can look forward to a solid performance from Liquid Gold which is a focused team right now having been training twice per day for the past 12 days.”
Beckles said he did want to disclose too much of information on what the team will be doing but what he knows for sure is that many persons will have a different view of the team after today’s game.
“Commitment is the hall mark of the team and we are committed to doing well.”
Tasked with the responsibility of carrying the team are Shawn Benn (defender), Handel Norton (forward), Xavier Hendricks (midfield) all with experience at the National Level; Shawn Garraway (goalkeeper), Quacy Jacobs (defender), Cleon Joris (goalkeeper) and Aloysius Edwards.
A number of practice games were played and the team is rearing and ready for the Riddim Squad match-up.
Coach of Riddim Squad Lloyd Millington also is expressing confidence of doing well in this their second K&S tournament. In their debut year last year, Riddim Squad bowed out at the quarter-final stage after recording wins over Ann’s Grove and Rosignol United.
Preparations for them commenced just over one month ago and while the weather was a factor they have been able to whip themselves into very good competition shape.
Taking over the reigns as Technical Director is United Kingdom based Coach Ivan Persaud.
“We are prepared mentally, physically and ready to face the challenge. We have done extensive work on our pattern in attack, ball possession, defense and finishing.”
The Hope brothers will once again play a pivotal role in Riddim Squad’s quest to go one step further this time around.
In charge of the defense is Captain Sherwin Hope who will be assisted by Mark Gilkes and Kevin Roberts among others.
Controlling midfield will be Lyliton Ramsey along with Sceyon Hope with Sheldon and Steffon Hope hunting for goals. Dorville Stewart will stand between the uprights.
Two more matches are fixed for Friday at the Enmore Community Centre Ground. Linden’s Netrockers oppose Bakewell Buxton Stars in the first match with Fruta Conquerors tackling Victoria Kings in the main event.