All Saints’ Primary showed it was no fluke when they repeated as champions of the 2019 Scotiabank Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football [CONCACAF] Next Play Cup today at the Barbados Football Association’s AstroTurf.
The competition which is now in its second year and caters specifically to primary schools, attracted 48 schools this year.
When the curtains came down this evening, it was the St. Peter based All Saints team that emerged champions courtesy of a 2-1 victory against St Winifred’s, thanks to a brace from Giovanni Goodridge.
Victorious coach Barrington Harewood described this year’s tournament as challenging, but explained that his players were motivated and managed to come out on top.
“This year was a bit more challenging in terms of results because we went into a penalty shoot-out in the quarterfinals. But we prepared hard once again and the boys being defending champions and girls were motivated and were looking forward to this for the past year so they came and performed well.
“I had about three players playing with injuries so that shows the fight from the children in the North. I told them they had to do it for the team and they said ‘yes Sir’,” Harewood said.
All Saints’ took the first strike when Goodridge buried the ball past a spaced out St. Winifred’s defence and their goalkeeper Alex Bowe during the game which was played in four quarters, comprised seven minutes each.
St. Winifred’s, coached by former Barbados women’s captain Gabriella Lopez did brilliantly to equalise 1-1 off a Jacob Gollop header, but All Saints’ produced some lovely touches which found dangerman Goodridge for the winning strike in the third quarter.
St. Winifred’s fought well coming on to the end but on each occasion was denied by All Saints’ goalkeeper Jayden Leslie who made some fantastic saves and was man-of-the-match in coach Harewood’s eyes.
Enroute to the final, All Saint’s edged Hillaby Turners Hall Primary 3-2 on penalties after regular time was tied 1-1. They then went on to play St. Alban’s Primary in the semifinals and captured a hard-fought 1-0 win for a place in the final.
Meanwhile St. Winifred’s earned a place in the semifinal after they successfully won a protest against Deacon’s Primary who fielded two teams, but against the rules played one of their students on their A and B side.
St. Winifred’s went on to win the semifinal convincingly 4-0 against Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary for a place in the final.
CONCACAF’s Next Play coordinator for Barbados, Renaldo PeeWee Gilkes told Barbados Today this is a regional initiative done simultaneously in Jamaica, Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Also a national Under-17 coach, Gilkes explained that because they were so many children who played football CONCACAF saw the event as a vehicle to create excitement for the sport, which also teaches valuable life lessons.
“There are so many children who play football, so we want to use it as a vehicle to basically teach social and life skills. We know that children in particular are faced with a number of issues in society and we utilise the sport of football to reach those children. Teach them social skills and values such as teamwork, responsibility, respect. We have a set of principles which guide Next Play and they are fun, football, friendship, fair play and looking towards the future,” Gilkes said.
Sharing similar sentiments was David Parks, managing director of Scotiabank Barbados, who said he believes the program helps equip young people with skills and expertise to discover their true potential.
During his address at the closing ceremony this evening, Parks said as part of Scotiabank’s commitment to the communities, the company will invest more than USD$65, 000 across the region. That money will go towards a legacy program which would see the winning schools from all four participating countries get the opportunity to enhance sports facilities of their choice.
“Through this initiative, we hope to have a meaningful impact on our communities, and to promote spaces where children and youth can come together, reinforce life skills and value, and work for a better future,” Parks said.