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    May 23

  • 06:49 AM

Tough LIME battle set for tonight

Ezra Stuart,

Added 11 November 2012


Tonight's first two quarter-finals in the LIME Pelican Football Challenge at Kensington Oval will have a distinct community flavour. All four teams involved will definitely have strong support from the community in which the franchises are based. Hence, there may be standing room space only in the Greenidge and Haynes Stand.   In the opener at 5 p.m., the Bayland, St Michael community will be rooting for Kick L.G. Strike Force as they battle T.S. Strikers, which will have the backing of the Christ Church districts such as Gall Hill, Silver Hill, Lodge Road and Wotton. Then, at 8 p.m., the Pinelands posse should be out to rally behind Akademiks as they face Scotty’s Tech4Less Combined All Stars, who will be supported by the fans from St John. With the round-robin group matches completed and the knockout stage starting, defeat from here on will mean instant elimination from Barbados’ richest football tournament with a first prize of $100 000. On the other hand, victory will guarantee a semi-final berth as matches will go into extra time and a penalty shoot-out, if the scores are locked. Strike Force, boosted by gifted 18-year-old striker Diquan Adamson, will be looking to capitalize on the suspect defence of T.S. Strikers, who are smarting from a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Phoenix Toyota UFO Firehouse. It is be interesting whether Mark Cox, who had to be substituted early last Sunday after being taken to the cleaners by Norman Forde and Jason “Fowlie” Blackman, is brought back to partner Andre Daniel in the centre of T.S. Strikers’ defence or if Rico Graham will be employed in that position. Another option would be using Barbados’ Under-17 captain and sweeper Ramar Miller, but with Adamson joined by the fleet-footed Dwayne Mars and Carl Joseph on the left flank with his penetrating moves, this may be asking too much of the promising St Leonard’s schoolboy. Kadeem Latham and Shawn Hackett could also make an impact for Strike Force. The battle between Joseph and T.S. Strikers’ right back Jamar Walters could be the deciding factor because preventing the skillful Joseph from getting in his crosses or taking shots at goal will be absolutely necessary. Whereas Renaldo Marques has been solid in midfield for T.S. Strikers, he is far too defensive-minded, while six-footer Rico “Sas” Baptiste must raise his game and not only depend on free-kicks to have a blast at goal. But Marques and Baptiste will face a battle against the evergreen duo of John Hawkesworth and Rudi Grosvenor as well as young promising Guyanese-born midfielder Elsid Miggins. The roles of the Chandler brothers, Jamal and Jabarry, will also be key as the former has been asked to play in an attacking midfield position. Armando Lashley came off the bench against Firehouse but if utility player Carlos Nicholls, who missed that match, is not fit enough to play, then Lashley may get into the starting line-up with Julian Nicholls on the right side of midfield. Still, it won’t be an easy task for these young strikers, facing the experienced trio of John “Nobby” Parris, Bryan Neblett and Leon Todd in the Strike Force’s defence. Kimoi Seale and Aaron Leacock are expected to be used in marking roles. In the feature match, whereas Akademiks will welcome back Arantees Lawrence to partner their marquee player Mario Harte up front, Combined All Stars have suffered a massive blow with the loss of their main striker Tristan “Fishy” Parris due to torn ankle ligaments. In Parris’ absence, Jeremy Bradshaw, the former Eden Lodge striker who now plays with UWI, has been given the responsibility as point man, but teenaged strikers Zico Mascoll and Shaquille Belle as well as Aqiyl Cumberbatch and Reno Shepherd have also shown their worth. They will be coming up against an Akademiks’ defence, marshalled by six-footers Omar Primus and Jermaine Caesar with former Barbados defender Randy Burrowes in his usual roaming role. Akademiks’ goalkeeper Romayne “Spider Man” Primus has also conceded the least number of goals – three – so scoring against him has not been easy. The three key individuals for All Stars will definitely be Kirk Best, Brian Bynoe and Damian Husbands, while they can also call on midfielder Cody Mark. All Stars’ custodian Mario Albert, who has only let in four goals, will be looking to the defensive quartet of Paul Alexander, Ryan James, Alex Belgrave and Baggio Harewood to protect him from the likes of Harte, Lawrence, Lionel Paul and Jason Goodridge.


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