Not even the heavy downpour of rain prevented Pro-Shottas Soccer School and Kick Start Football Club from celebrating as respective champions of the inaugural National Youth Cup Tournament Thursday.
Hosted by the Barbados Football Association, Pro-Shottas took a 3-0 triumph against Brittons Hill when the Under-nine final kicked off Thursday morning at the Barclays Ground at Wildey, St Michael.
Those in attendance then turned their attention to the Under-11 showdown between Kick Start and Paradise and when the final whistle of referee Clifton Garnes had sounded after 50 minutes of regular time, it was the Kick Start players with a comfortable 3-0 score line and several supporters savouring the moment.
Kick Start and Paradise are two of the biggest football clubs in Barbados and when these two teams meet at any level, one is guaranteed to see some exciting action. The opening half was a goalless affair as both teams failed to put away the numerous opportunities, with Kick Start having the majority of the possession.
The second period was another story because Kick Start got right down to business two minutes after half time in the 27th minute compliments Ayo Kellman. A 25-yard free kick taken by Jordan Bryan found Kellman for the final touch past Paradise goalkeeper Jireh Malcolm who lost his footing and fumbled.
Ten minutes later and Kick Start were once again screaming for joy as Kellman nailed a right-footed shot for a brace in the 37th minute. Bryan came up with the assist as he dribbled up the left flank, broke free and took a shot that was struck with much power over to the right post where Kellman waited patiently.
In the 39th minute, Bryan eventually got his name on the score sheet after all of his hard work earlier, thanks to some help from teammate Diego Fenty. Fenty muscled his way past two defenders and passed to Bryan who finished the job.
The one real chance Paradise had went a-begging after Zico Rogers shifted one of Kick Start’s defenders and took aim at the goal bars but the ball went just wide.
Speaking after the game, victorious coach Zico Callender told Barbados TODAY that the victory meant everything to him and he was pleased with the performance of the team. He explained that after assessing the first half, he knew exactly what was needed in the second half and his players executed well.
“I really wanted to see what they [Paradise] were made of, so I noticed they played very physical, so I had physical players on the side line and I told them I would play them in the second half, so I told the first half players to wear them down. So after I wore them down and I realized how they accustomed playing, then I made my switches to suit. That is why Jordan Bryan and Ayo Kellman had various chances to score,” Callender said as he explained his strategy in the final.
The Under-nines’ contest was just as competitive but Pro-Shottas were the ones who broke the deadlock and never look backed when they took on Brittons Hill. Ahron Lovell gave his team a 1-0 advantage in the 25th minute and Most Valuable Player Jules O’Garro followed up with another in the 30th minute and Ethan Rollock sealed the deal six minutes later for a well-deserved victory.
The outstanding players for the Under-11s were Most Valuable Player Adrian Moore of Pro-Shottas who was also named best midfielder; best defender and best goalkeeper went to Paradise duo of Kalijah Holder and Jireh Malcolm. Joshua Waithe of Kick Start had the most goals. Meanwhile in the Under-nine category, Thierry Clauzel of Brittons Hill accounted for the most goals of 16 and best goalkeeper went to Zekiel Armstrong of White Hall.