Alpha face PR Islanders; Defence Force play Tempete FC @ Providence

May 19, 2011 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Alpha United President Odinga Lumumba (right) and Vice President Steve Ninvalle at yesterday's press briefing.

By Franklin Wilson

Local football powerhouse Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United are in the tapering phase of preparations for the biggest challenge in the club’s history yet; they are set to take on defending Caribbean Club Champions Puerto Rico Islanders in the semifinals of the Caribbean Football Union Club Champions Cup next Wednesday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
The other semifinal featuring Trinidad and Tobago Club Champions Defence Force and Haiti’s Tempete FC will also be played at the Stadium as well as the final and third place encounter two days later.
Yesterday at the Water Chris Hotel, Club President Odinga Lumumba relayed the decision of being host nation of the final four following the approval of the Caribbean Football Union on Monday last.
Lumumba also disclosed that Vice President of the Club Steve Ninvalle and Assistant Coach Gavin Brown will be attending a CONCACAF Summit in Miami from May 23-24 which deals with the CONCACAF Champions League.
He also informed that the team has been encamped from Tuesday and has been in training for their biggest test yet. He noted and thanked the Government of Guyana contributing 3 million dollars towards the successful hosting next week’s games. Alpha he said would be responsible for accommodation for the three teams of 25-members each as well as internal transportation and meals.
Eleven officials from various Caribbean countries will be in charge of the matches. The CFU he disclosed would also be making a contribution towards the hosting of the games, while making a call for Corporate Guyana as well as the fans to come out and lend their support.
Head Coach of Alpha Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover speaking with Kaieteur Sport noted that his team has been training ever since the start of this year and he has seen gradual improvement.
“We have been improving all along and we will be ready for the challenge of Puerto Rico Islanders next week. They are the defending champions and it will not be an easy walk but I am confident that we’ll be able to take care of them.”
Dover said that he saw them play in Trinidad last year and they are a good team but he has confidence given the talent Alpha possess, they will be able to take care of the visitors.
This is the first time in Guyana’s history that a club has reached the semifinals of the CFU Club tournament and Alpha will be taking it one game at a time, the Head Coach informed.
Alpha booked their place by virtue of their 3-2 aggregate win over another Puerto Rico {River Plate}3-2 in the second game after a 0-0 draw in the first game, both played in Guyana.
Players the caliber of Captain Howard Lowe, goalkeepers Richard Reynolds, Ronson Williams, Richie Richards, Anthony Abrams, Dwight Peters, Dwayne Jacobs, Nigel Codrington, Shawn Bishop, Warren Gilkes and Kevin McKenzie among others will be tasked with the responsibility of achieving more glory for their club.
Puerto Rico, a three-time qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League, earned its place in the CFU Club Champions Cup semis with a 7-0 victory over Walking Boyz of Suriname on Saturday.
Noah Delgado scored twice in the first eight minutes at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and the Islanders cruised to an 8-1 aggregate victory. Walking Boyz, which drew 1-1 in its home leg, finished the match with only 10 men after Vano Sastromedjo was ejected in the 83rd minute.
The semifinal winners as well as the third-place victor will complete the 24-team CONCACAF Champions League field.

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