The torch ignited 40 years ago in 1978 remains lit, as the future of Paradise Football Club looks bright having won three major titles for the 2018 season at both the senior and junior levels.
Several outstanding footballers have been associated with the club’s glory days including former national players Anthony ‘Charlie’ Chase, Adrian Lashley, Jude Ellis, Don Legall, Riverre Carrington, Michael Brandon and Dwayne Gale along with fellow former outstanding Paradise stalwarts Larry Lashley and Junior Greenidge, just to name a few.
Paradise’s excellent legacy continued to thrive when the club celebrated as champions of the 2018 Stag Beer Champions Cup Knockout, the Barbados Football Association’s Reserve League and then the Under-23Emancipation Cup title.
President of Paradise club, Adrian ‘Ockey’ Donovan told Barbados TODAY that in honour of the club’s year of football excellence, they were going to toast the three outstanding winning teams and honour the founding members and stalwarts during a ceremony scheduled for Friday, August 31 at the Drayton Close, Enterprise, Christ Church South constituency office of Ralph Thorne, a patron of the club.
Donovan, a well-respected senior sports administrator who has been president of Paradise Club for 26 years, and having joined the esteemed ranks of former presidents such as Ricardo Phillips, Ben Martinez and Bernard Codrington, said they were really on the move and praised not only the players but also the management team for their overall dedication towards the development of the club.
He explained that despite not having a major sponsor, which his management team is going to pursue very soon with corporate Barbados, Paradise would continue to work hard and had every intention of completing the double when the 2019 season commences early October. He said his club intended to not only defend their knockout title but also add the league trophy to their cabinet.
“We are planning something big for the youngsters who had an outstanding year. I also want to mention members of the management committee who have really volunteered a lot of time and effort in taking the club to this level. Vice-president Augustine Jacobs, not only is one of the top administrators of the club but he coaches some of the teams along with Rudy Pinder. Kenville Layne [premier league coach] who has been at the club for years does not get the credit that he truly deserves. Then you have Mark Cox who has come on by leaps and bounds, everything you ask Mark to do, he does.
“It is really amazing that during this successful journey, we have done it on our own, throwing a number of fundraising activities and yet still making overseas tours. We know that things are tough now with the economy, but we are hoping corporate Barbados will come on board and give us some assistance. We are located in the tourist belt of St Lawrence Gap and I am just hoping when we ask some questions in the next couple of weeks, we will be able to come out next season with a major sponsor backing the entire club,” Donovan said.
Paradise currently have four national players led by captain Armando ‘Suga’ Lashley, Ackeel Applewhaite, goalkeeper Jason Boxill and Mario ‘Bagga’ Williams who was named best midfielder and Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the just concluded knockout tourney.
They also have a vibrant youth programme which Donovan explained works really well because they integrate the juniors, namely Demar Linton named MVP in the just concluded Under-23 Emancipation Cup tournament, goalkeeper Paul Doughty, Jermaine Johnson, Terrell Bancroft and Theo Browne into the premier league setup.
“The future really looks good for Paradise, we have youth on our side and with the season starting in October, a matter of weeks away, we will take a break and then back to hard work. We intend to go after the league title this coming season.
“Our youth programme has moved a notch up the ladder, the Under-19 team just came back from a major league international tournament in Canada, which is the second year we have participated in that event. And this coming weekend, we are going to St Lucia to take part in the regional youth competition, and we are taking both our Under-15 and 17 teams,” said Donovan, who is also chairman of the BFA technical committee.