Controversy and football in Barbados seem to be going hand in hand at the moment.
Two highly questionable decisions overshadowed today’s Coca-Cola Barbados Secondary Schools Football League (BSSFL) Under-14 final played between Frederick Smith and the Lodge School at the Wildey AstroTurf.
Before a ball had even been kicked, the game was embroiled in controversy, with match referee Edwin Adams refusing to officiate the game which was slated to begin at 3:30 p.m, following a disagreement with one of The Lodge School’s coaches Desmond Grant.
According to reports, Adams asked Grant to remove his two children from the sidelines before the game began, telling him that it was against the rules.
However, after Grant refused, Adams along with his officiating staff made a decision not to carry the game.
It led to an almost hour-long delay before president of the BSSFL, Captain Adrian Mapp arrived at the venue and chose to officiate the match without the assistance of any linesmen.
However, with Lodge holding a comfortable 4-1 lead just minutes into the second half, Frederick Smith’s coach Kyle Blackman shockingly called his players off the field in apparent disapproval of a call made by the referee.
Mapp had just moments ago asked a member of Blackman’s coaching staff to leave the sidelines after she had hurled insults at him.
In retaliation of what he deemed a no-call by Mapp after one of his players had been fouled, Blackman hastily brought the game to an abrupt end by ordering his players off the pitch.
“I am very disappointed,” Lodge’s coach Corey “Beenie Man” Barrow told Barbados TODAY shortly after the drama unfolded.
“To call the youngsters off the pitch like that, especially when you could see that they wanted to play I think was in very poor taste. That is not a good message to send to our youth, because then they would feel it is the right thing to do.”
The two disturbances marred what was an otherwise dominant performance from Lodge, who controlled the contest from start to finish.
It took them just two minutes to take the lead when Deron Wiltshire curled a free kick from just outside the left side of the penalty area, over the outstretched hands of Frederick Smith’s custodian Sachin Griffith and into the back of the net.
Things went from bad to worse for Frederick Smith four minutes later when Renaldo Roberts was sent off after receiving his second yellow card.
It didn’t take long for their opponents to capitalize, with Aaron Ward tapping home from close range in the 11th minute following a goalmouth melee to make it 2-0.
Frederick Smith did manage to pull one back, with Jamal Williams’ long range free kick slipping through the hands of Lodge’s goalkeeper Imani Blackman five minutes later .
From there on it was all one-way traffic, with Ward’s powerful shot from outside the 18-yard box making it 3-1 in the 22nd minute, before Dejuan Walcott extended that lead five minutes into the second half by slotting into an empty bars after a fumble by the goalkeeper gifted him an easy opportunity.
Despite the manner in which his team achieved victory, Barrow was still proud of their accomplishment.
“The guys really fought hard, they played hard and they really deserved to win. I’m proud of the way they played throughout the tournament. Today’s goal was the only goal which they conceded for the entire competition,” he proudly acknowledged.