Unruly fans spoil grueling final
By Franklin Wilson
What turned out to be a colossal battle of a never say die disposition, experience, youth and determination displayed by Future Stars and West Front Road-Gold is Money in the final of the GT Beer Keep Your Five Alive was eventually marred by the over exuberance and stubbornness of the fans in the wee hours of yesterday morning at the National Gymnasium.
The battle between two tactical sides turned out to be very explosive with neither side giving up or giving in to the extent that kicks from the penalty mark was necessary to decide the winner after a draining 4-4 tie in the 60-minutes of regulation, added on and extra time that produced some of the most nerve racking futsal one would ever absorb.
But the fans eventually ruined an otherwise epic night as the referees and players who had pleaded with them to leave the playing area eventually exited the Gymnasium leaving the fans behind.
The organiser and team representatives met later yesterday and came to an agreement to split the spoils on offer in the final. It was $500,000 and $250,000 for the winner and loser. However, the teams got the organiser to add $50,000 more to round it off at $800,000 which was then split down the middle between Future Stars and West Front Road-Gold is Money.
The capacity crowd at the venue was treated to some exhilarating end to end action in regulation time. The young guns or upstarts, it was that took the game by the scruff of the neck early on even as West Front Road were still somewhat sleeping.
Two-Time and reigning Digicel Schools’ Football Championships Captain Jeremy Garrett of Chase Academy it was who sent his team into the lead at the half hour mark.
Garrett fired in the first goal in the 30th minute and it brought with it a deafening uproar from the fans and supporters. As if that was not enough in breaking the deadlock, Garrett was again on target five minutes later with his and his side’s second goal.
Naturally, the supporters, let alone the players from the West were all stunned with the explosive play and excellent rotation of the Future Stars players. But it was just the beginning of what was to come on the night.
The dreadlocked Jamal Pedro it was for West Front Road who responded in like manner with two dagger like shots on either side of the goal that settled at the back of the nets triggering the other half of the fans into a collective frenzy.
Leading goal scorer in the competition, another Pedro, Hubert from the Pedro clan was not allowed to be penetrative but there was enough representation and depth on the team to respond to the young energetic stars.
Jamal nailed his brace of goal in the 37th and 42nd minute to neutralize proceedings; the match was now heating up. Another seasoned campaigner on the West Front Road side, Randolph Wagner entered the fray to put his team ahead on 48 minutes, the first of his double.
The adrenaline on both sides was now at its peak which made the match much more exciting as fans were at the edges of their seats. The go ahead goal eased the pressure somewhat for the West fans but that was not to have been for too long as Future Stars’ Keiron Solomon entered the goal scoring fray with the first of his two in the 59th minute to even the score at 3-3 in the nick of time as the final whistle was sounded mere moments after.
Early in the 8 minutes (2 equal 4 minutes halves) of extra time, Solomon restored the advantage to his team with his second goal of the night which came in the 62nd minute. As the moments ticked away and closed in on the final minute (68th), it was felt that Future Stars were on their way to win the championship but that though soon disappeared when Wagner fired in his second and West’s fourth to knot the score for the final time.
With an overflowing crowd and penalty kicks the next stage, fans crammed on to the playing area which drastically reduced the space for the players to take their shots. After four shots each it was a 2-2 score line with two misses each.
After each shot was taken the space kept reducing with the encroachment of fans and despite pleas from the players, referees and even the announcer for fans to vacate the area, they stood their grounds.
The referees decided that enough was enough and left the Gymnasium at 2:45hrs followed by the players. A total of 32 teams competed in the tournament, Keep Your Five Alive; one should have been left alive but as it turned out, two remained, Future Stars and West Front Road-Gold is Money.
Corporate support for the tournament was provided by HJTV, 94.1 Boom FM, Trophy Stall, Star Party Rentals, A&J Carpet House, Ravi’s Carwash (Pike Street, Kitty), Cheese Please, Colours Boutique, Confidential Cabs and the title sponsor, GT Beer.
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