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Spicy final in store

Ezra Stuart

Spicy final in store

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Fans will be hoping 2007 winners Mackeson Brittons Hill and first-time finalists OKG Rendezvous serve up a spicy and finger-licking KFC Champions Cup knockout final tonight at the Wildey Football AstroTurf.
All the ingredients are there for a mouth-watering contest between two sides who feature at least 20 footballers who have either represented Barbados or St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Judging from how the teams played in their semi-final victories last Sunday, one expects non-stop action in a fast-paced game, which could attract the season’s biggest crowd for the 8 p.m. kick-off.
Over the years, the Valery, St Michael-based Brittons Hill outfit have underachieved, with their major silverware being the solitary knockout crown and two top-flight league titles in 1990 and 2009.
On the other hand, Rendezvous, who were only promoted from Division 3 last year, are on the verge of creating modern-day history by becoming the first Division 2 team to win the knockout title in three decades.
But don’t be fooled by their junior division status as they not only feature five Vincy Heat national footballers but several players who were playing Premier League football up to last year.
Ironically, three of them – captain Jeffrey Williams, Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge and goalkeeper Kerry Holder – wore the colours of Brittons Hill when they lost 3-4 in extra time to the Barbados Defence Force in last year’s final.
Williams and the slimly-built Damal Francis have been pulling the strings for Rendezvous in midfield.
Along with Goodridge, who has been over-lapping from left wing back, they have linked up with the elusive wide Vincentian midfielders Romano Snagg and Norel George in providing service for lethal strikers Shandel Samuel and his speedy cousin, Myron.
Rendezvous have scored an incredible 31 goals with Shandel Samuel scoring 12 of them. Brittons Hill will have to find a way to nullify their opponents’ attacks from the flanks and through the middle of the field.
One solution could be employing six-footer Jermaine Ceasar, who has been doing the defensive midfield duties in the absence of injured veteran Luther Watson, and Paul Straughn in a double marking role, while leaving sweeper Rohan Hall to cover challenge at the back.
The rugged Omar Archer may also be given a specific assignment to track the movement of the fleet-footed Snagg but another concern would be whether right wing back Curtis Blackman has the pace to match strides with George or Myron Samuel.  
At the other end, Brittons Hill also boast a formidable attacking quartet in Arantees Lawrence, who missed the semi-final with a slight injury, Walton Burrowes,
Hendy Richards and captain Riviere Williams.
They will be up against an extremely experienced Rendezvous defence of Wayne Sobers, Floyd Bailey, Goodridge and Jomo Brathwaite, who, along with Holder, have not conceded a goal in their six matches.
Riviere Williams has been used in a midfield role for most of the season with promising youngster Elsid Miggins, who has played for both Barbados and Guyana at the junior level, alongside him. It will be interesting to see whether skilful former Barbados midfielder Rondelle Vaughan is given a starting role.
The winners will receive the $20 000 first prize, along with the trophy and winner’s medals; the losers will pocket $10 000.
The match will be preceded by the third-place play-off between Pride of Gall Hill and Division One team Ellerton at 5:30 p.m. and a youth exhibition match featuring KFC Pinelands and KFC Cosmos at 4:30 p.m.
The teams (from):
Rendezvous – Jeffrey Williams (captain), Kerry Holder (goalkeeper), Wayne Sobers, Floyd Bailey, Jomo Brathwaite, Gregory Goodridge, Damal Francis, Romano Snagg, Norel George, Myron Samuel, Shandel Samuel, Terry Odle, Paul Lovell, Adrian Pridee, Lennox Crichlow, Don Ifill (goalkeeper), Biko Holloway, Dale Collymore.
Officials: Paul Maynard (president), Junior “Fox” Greenidge (coach), Chesterfield Simpson (coach),Tony Hall (medic).
Brittons Hill – Riviere Williams (captain), Rashad Ince (goalkeeper), Rohan Hall, Paul Straughn, Curtis Blackman, Omar Archer, Jermaine Ceasar, Hendy Richards, Walton Burrowes, Elsid Miggins, Arantees Lawrence, Zidkigah Samuel, Rondelle Vaughan, Stefan Batson, Edwin Brereton, Tennyson Mings (goalkeeper), Chad Parris, Rommell Bynoe.
Officials: Fabian Wharton (coach), Luther Watson (coach/player), Wayne Williams (manager), Dennis Callender (medic).
Match officials:
Referee: Trevor “Muslim” Taylor. Referee’s assistants: Jeremy Taylor, Clifton Garnes.
Fourth official: Gillian Martindale.