Wednesday, April 24, 2024

No David vs Goliath

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IT MAY APPEAR to be a David versus Goliath battle, but judging from the results in the ongoing World Cup football finals in South Africa, big-name sides should never take the lesser teams for granted.Italy, France, Brazil, England, and Argentina have all been eliminated while Uruguay and the Netherlands have advanced to the semi-finals.Unfancied Lucky Horseshoe Ellerton will be encouraged by such results when they oppose the traditionally-strong Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame in the Banks Knockout Cup Final tonight at the National Stadium starting at 8 p.m.In the last three decades, since the turn of the 1980s, the Dames have been Barbados’ most decorated team with nine Premiership titles and five knockout crowns. They won the league championship in May and are hunting a fourth double crown, after sweeping both major titles in 1997, 2004, and 2008.But it should be noted that when the teams met in the Premier League earlier this season, Ellerton surprised the Dames with a 2-0 victory at Friendship in the first round before the Dames restored their pride with a close 3-2 second-round triumph.“They are a team to watch, and in knockout football you can’t take any chances; it is the team on the day,” acknowledged Dames coach Rodney Barker. “But we are a champion team and are hungry for more success.“I have some youngsters who have been training and working hard alongside the experienced guys. They will get certain instructions and once they carry them out, I know we will win.”Ellerton’s coach Pedro Richards said he had no doubt that they could upstage the Dames in their first Cup final.“At this stage of our development, we are confident that we will beat Notre Dame. We defeated them on neutral turf already this year, but we had some bad decisions in the second round; so once we get a fair chance in the final, we will beat them again,” he said.“We have a lot of fans, who have not been to the Stadium in a long time, coming to support us. We have some good players. We have been training the whole week, doing a lot of drills and we are fit and ready.”Ellerton may have had the easier passage to the final but they showed their determination and fighting qualities to come from two goals down to eventually dismiss Division 2 side Sunrise 4-3 in the semi-finals.Notre Dame had a tougher semi-final, battling to a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Mackeson Brittons Hill,  who will now meet Sunrise in the third-place play-off at 4 p.m. to start the evening’s proceedings.In a new attraction, the Barbados Masters Knockout final between LIME and Notre Dame will be contested at 6 p.m., so one expects that fans in Bayland and the surrounding districts will be out of their numbers to support the present and past players who have built a football dynasty for the St Michael powerhouses.Just as it was when they played against Brittons Hill and had to deal with their hometown hero Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge, Ellerton will again have to stop another of their “homeboys”, striker Ricky Barnes, from excelling in the Dames’ colours.With the Dames having two young strikers – Kyle Gibson and Decarlo Jemmott – as well as veteran Ryan Lucas, Barnes may be used in an attacking midfield role, alongside captain John “Nobby” Parris and former Barbados Under-21 captain Renaldo Gilkes.Versatile former Barbados player Rudy Grosvenor will almost certainly feature in the Dames’ starting line-up, as the Lavine brothers – Maradona and Donovan – are playing in the Caribbean Cup in New York, while Giancarlo Cobham will miss the final after he was red-carded in the semis.Shurland Roberts will orchestrate Ellerton’s plays in midfield with support from Shamar Ifill, Javon Best, and the lanky Damien “Bobby” Walcott, whose younger brother Chad Parris will partner Jeffrey Blackman up front.They will have a tough task against former long-serving Barbados defender and captain Wayne Sobers, who will marshal the Dames’ defence, with support from the stocky Orville Bobb and national wing back Bryan Neblett, who is also a threat in attack with his overlapping runs.

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