Sunday, March 3, 2024

Football treat today


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Fans of the LIME Pelican Football Challenge will be in for a treat today at the National Stadium.
For the first time, the organizers have arranged four matches, starting from as early as 3 p.m., where Red Tridents will go after their first win for the campaign against an in-form Scotty’s Tech 4 Less Combined Stars.
At 5 p.m. Emmerson Boyce Fifth Avenue Fashion Bajan Elite will look to continue their perfect record as they come up against De Pier’s Sportstown Galaxy. Following this encounter will be the first of two Group A matches – dethroned champions KFC Akademiks will meet Direct TV Red Snappers at 7 p.m. and in the final match T.S. Strikers will play Barbados Steelworks Esso Oistins Top Bay Settlers.
Combined Stars and Red Tridents both played on Thursday with contrasting outcomes. Combined Stars displayed high energy and team chemistry as they defeated Nulook 360 Connection 3-1, while Red Tridents controlled most of the game but squandered countless chances and suffered their third defeat, going down 0-1 to Galaxy.
Team depth would be key for both these teams as a mere 48 hours have passed since their last encounter and tired legs could be factors in their performance.
Red Tridents will be missing influential midfielder Romel Burgess who was substituted last game apparently through injury. His void can be filled by Damion Bill or making a couple adjustments, such as moving Kadeem Atkins from centre back into midfield or offering the combative Alex Hackett the opportunity to start in the midfield alongside Keon Atkins and his support cast of Curtis Odle and Jason Ramsay.
This quartet will come up against a very spirited Combined Stars midfield who may still be feeding off the adrenaline of their game last Thursday. Ryan James, Damian Husbands, Jason King and Cody Mark worked tirelessly and will need to replicate this attitude if they are to claim three points once again.
Combined Stars strength is up front with the towering and powerful Tristan “Fishy” Parris complimented by the slender, speedy and skilful Shaquille “Zuka” Boyce, who grabbed his first LIME Pelican goals on Thursday against 360.
Red Tridents have their fair share of firepower but names on the sheet do not win football games.
One match features two teams at different ends of the table – Bajan Elite will be expected to gather the win from a less quality Sportstown team who have struggled over the last two games to field a team.
They won their last game against Red Tridents but this is a whole different kettle of fish. Bajan Elite have a fit, disciplined and very organized team who are well marshalled by senior players Jeffrey Williams, Barry Skeete and Reviere Williams.
The eminence of these players has allowed others such as Romario Harewood, Jomo Harris and Raymond Hope to play to their true potential and have standout seasons so far.
Akademiks, despite losing their crown, can prove to be a very influential team in this encounter. A win for the Pine lads can spell elimination for Red Snappers who sit on just three points.
Perhaps out of pride if anything else, Akademiks owe it to themselves and their strong fan base, to record at least one victory.
Red Snappers, with one more game will be contented with a draw at least with the expectation of gaining maximum points in their final encounter against T.S. Strikers. 
Strikers will be well rested after their ten-day break and Top Bay will be mindful of this, especially as they possess some of the island’s most effective forwards in the Chandler brothers Jamal and Jabarry, Armando Lashley and Zico Edmee.
Strikers have long been mentioned as a team of potential but their last win over 2011 champions Bajan Pride, showed they are now ready to claim the title of champions. 
The decision to pair national Under-17 defensive pair Renaldo Bailey and Ramar Millar was one of vision and intelligence, as these two probably form the best defensive partnership in the competition.
Raheim Sargeant is quietly going about his business and racking up goal after goal. Everything the diminutive midfielder has touched within 25 yards of the goal area has resulted in goals; he has scored in all five of his team’s matches, a statistic opposition coach Thomas Jordan will be mindful of.
Top Bay will seek to end their preliminaries with the three points and will need forwards Mustafa Haqq, Henderson Richards and Brett Carrington to support Sargeant in the goal scoring department. (ROG)


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