Can Eagles soar past Shattas for $1m?
Botafago tackle Winners for third place
Silver Shattas must fancy their chances against Eagles United when they clash this evening in the final of the Upper Demerara Football
Association (UDFA) organized GT Beer 4th annual Christmas championship final after failing in their quest last year when they were beaten by the lone holder of the title over the years Federal Winners Connection.
They square off for a first prize of $1M, the huge winners’ trophy and replicas as the losing finalist receives $600,000 following the third position match. Wrapped up in this also will be bragging rights for a year as they go head-to-head at 21:00hrs but that will be preceded by the third placed game between the dethroned Winners Connection and Botafago who battle for third place worth $300,000, as the loser gets $200,000 in what could be an interesting affair at 19:00hrs, after the brief remarks by selected officials at 18.30hrs.
Minister Responsible for Sport Ms. Nicholette Henry, Minister within the Ministry of Communities Ms. Valerie Patterson, Regional Chairman Renis Morian of Region 10 (Upper Demerara/ Berbice), Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland, Members of Parliament Mr. Jermaine Figuiera and Audwin Rutherford, President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Wayne Forde, Director of Sport Christopher Jones, President of the UDFA Sharma Solomon and Banks DIH officials, Outdoor Events Manager Mortimer Stewart, GT Beer Manager Geoff Clement, Communications Manager Troy Peters and their Linden Branch Manager Ms. Shondel Easton are among those expected to witness the grand finals after brief remarks are given.
Interesting is the fact that Eagles United won their game against Silver Shattas to hand them their lone loss so far in the tournament and must be confident that they can repeat that performance.
But this is a championship game and Silver Shattas will be hard to beat as they are the more experienced side.
Their coach Felix Inniss feels that their strong area is in the midfield, while he also has great confidence in the defence. However, up front is where the potent scorer and leading goal scorer Colwyn Drakes is stationed in tandem with Damian Williams as they have goals against their names. Drakes has five goals so far. Inniss acknowledged that they lost 1-0 to Eagles in the preliminary round and certainly will not underestimate them, saying the youths knocked out the reigning champions Winners Connection. But he said he expects his side to prevail in this return clash.
Coach Inniss said that there were some surprises in this tournament and the lead up was not an easy one for them even though they came through finally to battle once again for the top prize. He said emphasis is concentrated in their midfield where they have solid players like Michael Wilson, Deon McAllister, Jermaine Samuels and up front are Williams and Drakes, while in the back there are Romel Matthews and Tony Gilbert, while in goal there is Kellon Major.
The Eagles United side is one that is bustling with youths and most of them have played at the junior national levels either for the national under 17 or Inter Guianas teams. The average age of this team, coach Aswatt Barrett said is 18 years and they are confident that they can achieve this title for the first time. Barrett said his team has a compact middle to lead their game plan as he singled out Kevin Deere as one to watch.
Up front he noted is the strapping forward Yonnick Hercules Simon who has had a tournament to remember with four goals, while in their defence there are Kedolph Lewis and Seon Barrett who have had exposure at the junior national level. In goal is another bright prospect in 16 years old Shamar Gittens, while on the sidelines so far has been their most lethal player Omar Brewley who is still to be given his chance to parade his skills. Brewley could be a surprise package tonight.
Coach Barrett reminisced that they were knocked out by Milerock last year in the first round and again this year lost to Milerock in the preliminary round but advanced as Milerock failed to progress. Against Milerock Barrett said his team did not play to their game plan and he is bent on ensuring that his team plays to their strengths this time in the final.
The Botafago versus Winners Connection game will see the former champions hoping to come out in a position of holding their pride and not being relegated to fourth position after dominating the tournament for three years. But Botafago is another youthful side coming through and the clash is one between experience and youths wanting to climb to the next level.
Before these matches, however, there will be the closing remarks to be given by some key officials who have been invited to witness the grand finale come tonight and all must hope that the weather would allow for a great brand of football this time around.
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