By Rawle Welch
Alpha United must start as the clear favourite to cart off the $500,000 first prize on offer in this year’s NaMilCo Football Festival which is set to conclude on Tuesday, at the Tucville ground.
The new date follows an earlier postponement due to the inclement weather which had the ground waterlogged.
Arguably the best team locally, Alpha United familiarly referred to as the ‘Manchester United’ in local circles has produced consistent performances throughout the competition and even though their opponent Santos will start as the underdogs, the former on paper appears far too superior both technically and tactically to be daunted by the latter’s recent achievements.
Alpha’s margin of victories have been overpowering, while Santos’ have been marginal, but in football, all that could go out the window and just be a case of which team plays better on the day.
Alpha’s Shevane Seaforth has been in prolific form and he will be looking to maintain that momentum in today’s game, while the other players that harmonize their strike force Shawn Bishop, Dwain Jacobs and Dwight Peters are as potent as any in the country.
Then there is the indomitable backline marshalled by Captain Howard Lowe that also includes the high energy Abassi McPherson and Kelvin McKenzie in addition to last stop Ronson Williams and right away one could see why they haven’t conceded many goals.
They are indeed a formidable resistance that will take some amount of hammering to penetrate and the prediction is that Santos does not possess the quality of firepower to initiate a dramatic collapse.
However, apart from the technical aspects of sports, there is also the element of destiny and history is replete of such occurrences.
Santos, a team that has been plagued by defections and other negative distractions and which seemed to be forever in transition has certainly come of age and even though they’ve barely managed to scrape through a few skirmishes a date with destiny could find their favour.
Under a new management and coach, Santos named after a familiar Brazilian team has looked positive in attack, but could very well rue the loss of roving mid-fielder Glenorvan Edmonds, who was red-carded in their semi-final encounter for dangerous play.
His loss is a vital one, but players the caliber of Kester Jacobs, who netted the goal against Fruta Conquerors that saw them through to the final, will have to bear the burden of their attack and ultimate quest for victory.
The defence has been a combination of being both steady and ragged at times and Coach Denzil Thompson will be cognizant of the fact that Alpha is a team that usually takes advantage of any opportunity that is provided to score.
He will no doubt be imploring on them to be a cohesive unit and not play with a singular mentality to create chances for the opposition.
Whatever, the coaches decide whether on strategy or their final starting line-up, fans could very well be in for a treat and a final befitting of the total prize monies on offer.
The playoff for third place should also be an interesting affair and hosts Fruta Conquerors will be aiming for the $100,000 prize, while Sunburst Camptown will be harbouring similar thoughts.
Camptown, who are the defending champions lost to a more superior Alpha unit, but should find the youthful Conquerors a bit easier to handle, especially with only three players with much experience in Gerald Gritten, Lester Peters and Delon Williams, while Trevon Lythcott, a player with tremendous heart might find the likes of Reshawn Sandiford, Troy Prescod and Nigel Codrington too much to handle.
Conquerors on the other hand is presently depending on a relatively inexperienced frontline to take them over the line, but as was witnessed in their semi-final clash with Santos, Pernell Schultz and company as skillful as they are seemed to suffer stage fright on the big occasion.
Having said that, however, and the final out of their grasp, they could very well display the sublime skills that all the pundits have identified will make them future stars.
There is no shortage of ability in the Conquerors line-up, but with so little experience available, getting past a well drilled Camptown side could prove to be an arduous task.
A full house is anticipated to converge at the Tucville facility to witness what is being touted as two riveting matches to climax the well run competition.
Among the many sponsors are 2J’s General Store of Regent Street, Junior’s Jewellery of Robb Street, Bayridge Taxi Service of Sheriff Street, Global Technology, Banks DIH Ltd, Oasis Water Company and GT&T.
Prizes will be awarded for the Highest Goalscorer, Best Goalkeeper, Most Valuable Player and two players will be given computer scholarships.
Kick-off time is 18:00 hrs.
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