Teams gearing up for kickoff
WITH?THE?domestic football season mere days away, there has been a hive of activity in the transfer market with a number of Premier and Division One teams doing some tidy business during the early period and further taking advantage of the extended deadline of February 21.
Defending Premiership champions, Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDF) displayed a high quality of football last season as they swept away their competition with class, brute force and a high fitness level.
Much of this is likely to be present again as they have retained all of their players from last season, however in a move to bolster sports activities throughout the government security organisation, the officers who would have played in the Premier League last year will now play in Division Three.
Notable players, who will be plying their trade in Division Three are Nicholas Best, Terry Smith, Kemar Dottin and Carlos Bartlett.
Runners-up Mackeson Brittons Hill has been pretty active in the transfer market as they seek to go one step better in the league and knockout competitions. Departing the Valery-based club are forwards Arantes Lawrence and Reviere Williams, who will be turning out for Pinelands and The University of the West Indies respectively.
Troy Johnson makes the trip north to join St Peter Cosmos while Rommel Bynoe, a key cog in Brittons Hill’s wheel last year moves to neighbours Dayrells Road.
In an apparent trade Kevin Padmore returns to his youth club Paradise while gifted forward Mustafa Haqq joins Brittons Hill.
With two of their senior forwards exiting, manager Fabian Wharton has decided to add some speed and youth to his forward line, bringing in the likes of; Akeem Straker from Barbados Soccer Academy; Caddius Louis from Bagatelle and the roving Curtis Odle from Dayrells Road.
The return of goalkeeper Orlando Carew and centre defender Robert Charles should add some stability to the Brittons Hill backline this season.
Dayrells Road narrowly avoided relegation in 2013 and this year could be another battle for survival, especially as they have suffered the loss of two key, senior players in Tristan “Fishy” Parris to Weymouth Wales and hard-working midfielder Brian Bynoe.
Perhaps the return of home town boy Chavez Lloyd and the arrival of Jason King from St John Sonnets can fill the void of the two main figures in the Dayrells Road outfit.
Wales welcome back coach Eric Alleyne after a year’s break and football fans can expect a stylish and disciplined unit as long as Alleyne is in charge. He will have former national youth players Anderson Grannum (Wotton) and Shane Clarke (Cosmos) to add to his roster, as he seeks to bring glory back to the former football kings.
Cosmos came seventh in their debut season in the Premiership last year by producing some surprising results over more seasoned clubs.
They have retained the nucleus of their squad with the exception of long-serving player David “Popeye” Forde who has switched places with youth player Josimar Skinner, formerly of Youth Milan. Striker Damien “Duffy” Edwards has also returned to Cosmos from Milan.
Forwards Andre Pinder and Jamar Grazette have returned to home club Eden Stars after just one year with the Speightstown-based unit. Towering defender Dario Alleyne has returned to his home town in St Andrew in an effort to uplift Division Three squad, St Andrew Lions who have also acquired the services of veterans Luther Watson and Morrison Taylor.
Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame has been relatively quiet during the transfer period, up to deadline day securing the services of three young prospects in Antonio Corbin, Mark Bushell and Rajohn Hawkesworth, while seeing the departure of utility player Sheridan “Rudi” Grosvenor to his home club, Crompton.
Gall Hill have bolstered their attacking line up with the services of national forward Diquan Adamson, who comes over from the Dames to partner youth team striking partner Jabarry “Papi” Chandler and the improving Shaquille “Zuka” Boyce. Their backline will also feature some fresh faces in national Under-20 defensive duo Ramar Millar and Renaldo Bailey.
The lone exit from Gall Hill has been flamboyant attacking player Sherwin Success, who has decided to turn out for home town boys, Wotton FC.
Paradise have traditionally promoted players from their youth programme and maybe this practice will be continued this year. In addition, they have secured the services of Under-20 national players Jason Worme and Freddy Mulligan to fill the void left by Haqq and temperamental front man Kadeem Latham, who reportedly joined neighbours Gall Hill.
Pinelands have returned to the top flight after a year’s absence and by the look of their signings, they intend to remain there. Lawrence will share the goal scoring responsibility with Marlon Headley, who comes over from Carlton with the impressive custodian Romario Browne.
Pinelands youth products Jamar Thomas and Damion Bill have also returned from Paradise and the BDF respectively. Corey Taitt, who played with Akademiks during the LIME Pelican Football Challenge has decided to make the Pine his football home permanently, arriving from Dayrells Road.
Finally, another returnee to the Premier League is Silver Sands, who performed commendably in Division One last year. Their roster shows little activity as they have only acquired a few key players, such as Ptolemy Garner from St John Sonnets and the Paradise pair of Laron Gittens and Shawn Hector, with no departures reported.