Matarkai’s maiden annual Indigenous Heritage Football games playoffs got underway over the weekend at Fitzburg Recreational ground, Port Kaituma as 2017 National Indigenous Heritage Football champion and double semifinalist PK United males FC chalked up maximum points after securing wins in their two games played, while Sebai Invincible Talons FC lead the female segment after round one.
Watched by a vociferous crowd over the past two days which included Ms. Ann Marie Simon – Community Development Officer Matarkai who declared the playoffs open and encouraged all teams participating to be disciplined and put their best foot forward as they are all ambassadors for region one.
The games commenced on Saturday with a triple header on a slushy and sluggish outfield as Sebai Invincible Talons female FC battled PK United female FC under intermittent rain fall. The girls from Sebai eventually overpowered PK United FC as Sebai’s star striker and national hopeful 18 years old Feona Benjamin banged a quartet of goals to secure full points for her team as they defeated PK United FC 4-1. PK’s Shaklia Mingo was the lone scorer for her team in a losing cause.
Meanwhile in the male segment, game no.1, the lads from the Amerindian Reservation of Sebai took on Oronoque FC in an enthralling battle as Sebai were put on their back foot early in the first half when Oronoque striker Jamal James sent the net rocking.
Following the interval, Sebai FC managed to pulled one back off the boot of Randolph Benjamin and within three minutes of stoppage time, Maxwell Benjamin tucked a bullet like shot into Oronoque’s goal, to register their first win. Game ended Sebai 2- Oronoque 1.
On the final game for the day between Local Champions PK United FC and Sebai FC, Sebai were unresponsive as the 2017 Indigenous Heritage Champs hammered them by five goals; PK’s top strikers Cordell Mitchell and Keanu Williams blasted a double each, while Orlando Cupido chipped in with a lone goal.
The games continued on Sunday last with another triple header with Oronoque male FC engaging Five Star FC which the latter won 5-1; Five Star got off to a flier in the first half with Ronaldo Abrams and Karl Thompson booting in one goal apiece.
Oronoque’s outstanding player Jamal James continued to shine and managed to pull one back, but his attempt did not deter the hungry miners from Five Star FC to dig deeper; Tian Mendonca, Ewart Mingo and Mark Williams blasted one goal apiece to sink Oronoque FC further.
The female encounter between PK United FC and Oronoque FC, which was played under heavy rainfall, saw both teams struggling, as they settled for a tame draw and was awarded 1 point each; neither was able to penetrate each other’s goal.
The weekend games closed with PK United males FC defeating Five Star FC by 3-0.
Cornel St Romain opened PK’s account when Five Star goal keeper made a terrible error by sending a goal kick straight to an unmarked St Romian who responded by shooting accurately into an unprotected Five Star goal, and with just two minutes before half time, local football prodigy and star striker Cordell Mitchell banged in another as the they maintained advantage going into the second half.
When the final 45 minutes of play continued the PK players who were exhibiting high quality touches and passes continued to attack as Keanu Williams pierced the goal which was protected by substitute goalkeeper Romel Abrams.
The Heritage Playoff will continue on Saturday at Sebai Recreational ground with Oronoque Female FC taking on Sebai Invincible Talons, while Five Star Males FC will battle Sebai FC. Lots of indigenous foods and drinks will be on exhibition.
On Sunday, Oronoque FC males will host PK United FC at Oronoque Recreational Ground.
The Matarkai sub regional finals between Port Kaituma champion and Matthews Ridge/Arakaka champion will be held on August 24.
The Matarkai Female champion and Male Champion will head to the regional finals at Mabaruma on September 7th – 8th. The winner from that game will represent Region One at the National Indigenous heritage games in September in Georgetown.
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