Bajan Pride after big catch
THE PRIDE Bajan footballers should be seen at the National Stadium tonight in the first quarter-final of the LIME Pelican Challenge.
At 6 p.m., unbeaten Group A winners, Jose & Jose Bajan Pride Ballers will be out to catch a big fish when they clash with DirecTV Red Snappers.
And at 8:30 p.m., in the feature quarter-final, another unbeaten outfit, Barbados Steel Works Top Bay Settlers will be seeking to go goal-shopping against Nu Look 360 Connection.
After an impressive showing in the preliminaries when they earned eight points from two wins and two draws, the Bajan Pride Ballers, must now guard against complacency.
Whereas, their opponents lost two matches in the preliminaries and managed a solitary goal in four matches, this is the knockout stage and anything can happen.
Attacking midfielder Zaeehaeus Polius has been their stand-out player along with 200 Player of the Year, Dwayne McClean while striker Angus Doyle has made an immediate impact with a goal in separate matches.
However, young Zico Edmee must be more clinical in front of goal as coach Eric Alleyne can also use Carlo Perry, Norris Broomes and Jamel Pinder.
The Snappers have suffered a massive blow with the automatic suspension of key midfielder Jeffrey Williams, who got their only goal. His loss leaves former Barbados midfielder Albert Mapp and Donovan Lavine with plenty to do in midfield but it may open the door for Ramon Greaves to start on the right side of midfield.
Jason Carter has done yeoman service in defence for the Snappers as well as Jason Gilkes but goalkeeper Richard Corbin has been a shining star between the uprights, conceding just two goals. Young Kemar Chase and Andre Bourne, will also need to step up to nullify the threat of Polius, McClean and Doyle.
The Snappers have been let down by their strikers and the likes of Ricardo Carter, Kenroy Skinner and former Barbados’ leading goalscorer Llewellyn Riley while Terry Adamson has seen little action because of injury.
The dread-locked Julian Mottley and Shawn Clarke have combined admirably in defence for the Bajan Pride Ballers, doing their job with little fanfare in protection of goalkeepers Greg Jones and Morrison Taylor.
Richard Maynard is likely to fill the void created by Corey McCollin’s one-game suspension at left back while Damien Williams may return to the midfield.
The feature match will see Dwayne Stanford leading the 360 Connection attack with support from three of the island’s promising young strikers in Armando Lashley, Chad Parris and Kadeem Latham. They will be trying to penetrate an experienced Top Bay Settlers’ defence, featuring the likes of Dwayne “Ticky” Skinner, Stuart Hall, Paul Straughn and Ramuel Miller with former Barbados custodian Bernard Howell in the goalbars. Certainly, one of them will be assigned to mark the fleet-footed Stanford.
The Settlers can also call on the rugged Mark Cox, who limped off in the last game or Nicholas Collymore.
At the other end, Arantes Lawrence and Mustafa Haq need to combine and play as striking partners if they want to score against goalkeeper Kerry Holder. Six-footer Andre Pinder, the experienced Edwin Brereton and Ryan “Shaky” Griffith are also worthy striking options while Andre Gill, who scored in the Settlers’ last game, Kody Mark and Trevor Mayers have played their part when given the chance.
While 360 Connection have one of the most efficient goalkeepers in the tournament, the fact that he has been called upon to do so much work rests with an unstable defence.
Jomo Brathwaite has had to marshal the backline as Jermaine Caesar, Robert Charles and Jamar Thomas have been handicapped with injuries at some stage. The back-up support from six-footer Nicoli Blenman, Troy Johnson and Adrian Reid will be crucial while veteran Luther Watson may have to play even deeper in his defensive midfield role, and it could also be a similar situation with Nicholas “Alan” King in the Top Bay line-up.
Top Ballers will also be hoping at their two most experienced campaigners, Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge and coach-player Kent Hall can guide the skillful Curtis Odle, who has the ability to create or score goals, but sometimes loses his focus.