Home / Volley / Local Football / Naps hold off Pres Lions in fiery Big Four finale, as police called to separate warring staff

Naps hold off Pres Lions in fiery Big Four finale, as police called to separate warring staff

Presentation College (San Fernando) football team paramedic Natalie Charles did her part to try to cool down Naparima College yesterday evening in the final game of the 2016 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) season.

But it was as futile as everything else the “Pres Lions” tried in the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Photo: Naparima College players celebrate with the 2016 Big Four trophy after defeating rivals Presentation College (San Fernando) at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 12 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College players celebrate with the 2016 Big Four trophy after defeating rivals Presentation College (San Fernando) at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 12 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

As the fierce rivals exchanged pleasantries through gritted teeth—after the final whistle confirmed a 2-1 triumph for Naparima—‘Naps’ paramedic Kaleisha Delpeche was in the opposing technical area when Charles appeared to offer her a drink.

Only the water was not proffered in a glass and Delpeche did not get the right of refusal. Delpeche did not take kindly to the surprise shower and it took about three police officers to separate the pair.

The Naparima paramedic, incidentally, is a Trinidad and Tobago rugby player. So, whatever might be said about Charles’ action in the inevitable probe of the heated incident—and the Presentation bench suggested she was provoked—credit at least her bravery.

If the Naparima coaching staff failed to spot the dangers in post-game greetings, there was little during the 90 minutes that seemed to catch them off-guard.

Last season, coach Angus Eve led Naps to a clean sweep of titles. But they were trophy-less at kick off and determined to do something about it.

“It was a sort of redemption because all year I thought we played good football without a title to show for it,” Eve told Wired868. “And having to beat all the teams that won titles this season to get this made it even more worthwhile for us.”

Photo: Naparima College coach Angus Eve (right) makes a point while Presentation College (San Fernando) coach Shawn Cooper looks on during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College coach Angus Eve (right) makes a point while Presentation College (San Fernando) coach Shawn Cooper looks on during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

It was a bittersweet end to 2016 for Presentation coach Shawn Cooper. The Pres Lions finished second in the Premier Division—although they could slip as low as fourth due to the possible ramifications of using an illegitimate player, Kori Cupid—while they were also runner-ups in the National Intercol final. They did secure the South Zone Intercol trophy this year but a national title evaded them yet again.

“I thought it was one too many games for us,” said Cooper. “The games came back to back and, with the wet conditions, we looked a bit leg weary… For us, it was a consistent season. For one team to reach to three finals tells you something.

“We have no national trophies to show but I think we had a splendid season.”

There was an extra niggle to the showdown between the two southern institutions, as it was Naparima’s protest against Cupid that put their San Fernando neighbours in hot water.

Cupid entered high school at Trinity College (Moka) in 2008 and SSFL rules dictates that students can only participate in its football competitions for eight years. However, the documentation Presentation sent to the schools football administration claimed that the player did not start secondary school until 2009.

Eve claimed a precedent was set by FIFA in the 1990 World Cup qualifying campaign when Mexico was barred from participating for fielding an overage player in a youth competition. Presentation, according to the Naps coach, should be relegated.

Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Kori Cupid (centre) tries to tug back Naparima College playmaker Justin Sadoo (right) during the 2015 South Intercol final in Marabella. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Kori Cupid (centre) tries to tug back Naparima College playmaker Justin Sadoo (right) during the 2015 South Intercol final in Marabella.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“Like Mexico in 1988 who registered an illegal player, they should have been thrown out of the league because they played an ineligible player,” Eve told Wired868. “[…] It amounted to fraud because the date of when the player went into the school was changed to 2009 instead of 2008… The school should have been thrown out.”

Cooper previously declined comment on the furore. However, he tried to clear the air yesterday evening by suggesting Cupid’s inaccurate form was a mistake made several years ago that was never corrected.

He said that Cupid transferred from Trinity as a Form Three student to the same level at Presentation. However, he claimed school officials mistakenly recorded that the young footballer had come from Form Two in Trinity.

That error, Cooper said, was on Cupid’s paperwork for his entire time at Presentation and was unintentional.

“Naparima blew it out of context,” said Cooper. “It wasn’t really Presentation’s fault or that we were trying to cheat… There was a [glitch] in the system. We will not knowingly use an illegitimate player and we did everything that we thought was right.

“It is not that we were trying to get an unfair advantage because look we got to three finals without the boy…”

Ironically, Presentation lost against Naparima when Cupid played. But their luck was not much better this evening—if luck had anything to do with it, of course.

Photo: Naparima College left back Khris Stroud (left) offers a hand to Presentation College (San Fernando) attacker Nion Lammy after the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College left back Khris Stroud (left) offers a hand to Presentation College (San Fernando) attacker Nion Lammy after the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Earlier this season, Eve described Presentation captain and Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 midfielder Kareem “Enzo” Riley as “nothing special.” He stuck to that theme today, as he insisted that Naps’ lanky playmaker, Justin Sadoo, was better than his opposing midfielder.

“For me, there was only one national player on their team, [Nion] Lammy,” said Eve. “Justin Sadoo is the best midfielder in the league to me and I don’t know how he is not on the national team or how he didn’t make [the Wired868 All Star] team.

“He was tremendous whole season and he showed it again tonight. Isaiah Lee got the goals but Justin Sadoo was the glue who kept us together.”

It was high praise from Eve, who is recognised as Trinidad and Tobago’s most capped international player, and Sadoo lived up to the hype as Naparima bossed Presentation for the opening 45 minutes.

Lee, yet again, got the opener with a simple tap in after a mazy dribbling exhibition from Naps winger Ronaldo McIntosh in the 14th minute. And, five minutes before the interval, Sadoo doubled their advantage with a fine angled drive that gave Presentation custodian Jabari Gray no chance.

Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) captain Kareem Riley (right) and Naparima College playmaker Justin Sadoo chase after the ball during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) captain Kareem Riley (right) and Naparima College playmaker Justin Sadoo chase after the ball during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“They were sharper and quicker to the ball than us because they had barely played for the last three weeks,” said Cooper. “But after we made some changes, we took the game to them. We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”

Cooper inserted James Alex Lee Yaw upfront for the resumption of the match and Lee Yaw nearly halved the deficit with a thumping free kick from 30 yards, which rebounded off the outside of the post.

But, in truth, despite the renewed sense of urgency from the Lions, they were largely restricted to shooting from distance while Naps often threatened to get a third on the break.

Presentation did get a consolation item, though, as right back Mylz Barrington outfoxed Naparima full back Khris Stroud before drawing contact to earn a penalty, which substitute Omri Baird confidently dispatched.

But, otherwise, the most action Naps goalkeeper Levi Fernandez got was of his own making, as he took the ball towards the far corners of his penalty box until an opponent forced him to pick it up. Then, he dropped to the floor to caress the sphere with the relish of a newly wed.

Incensed, Presentation supporters serenaded Fernandez with a ditty that would not impress the local LGBT movement. But the real fireworks came after the final whistle.

Photo: Naparima College custodian Levi Fernandez is completely outfoxed by a penalty from Presentation College (San Fernando) substitute Omri Baird during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016. Fernandez had the last laugh, though, as Naparima won 2-1. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College custodian Levi Fernandez is completely outfoxed by a penalty from Presentation College (San Fernando) substitute Omri Baird during the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016.
Fernandez had the last laugh, though, as Naparima won 2-1.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Delpeche wandered into the Presentation’s technical area—ostensibly to congratulate the opposing staff for their effort. But there is supposedly a grievance between the two female medical staff members from another job site.

Both coaches were on the field interacting with players at the time. At least one eye witness suggested that Delpeche initiated the confrontation although that cannot be confirmed at this time.

What does seem undeniable is that Charles offered her rival a drink by tossing the contents of her water bottle at Delpeche. And it was not taken in the same good humoured manner as when players tip the water cooler over on their coaches to celebrate a title.

Delpeche did try to tip Charles over though. Thankfully, the police officers present got involved quickly and were able to prevent the paramedics from injuring each other—which would have been a professional discourtesy in more ways than one. Charles had a handful of Delpeche’s hair in firm grip at the time.

“It was disgraceful,” said Eve. “I don’t encourage that kind of thing… I don’t know what will happen on their side but I know what will will happen on our side.

“I didn’t want to spoil the boys celebratory mood but we will definitely deal with it tomorrow.”

Photo: Naparima College paramedic Kaleisha Delpeche (right) is restrained by the team's goalkeeper coach, Brian James, following a scuffle with Presentation College (San Fernando) paramedic Nathalie Charles after the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College paramedic Kaleisha Delpeche (right) is restrained by the team’s goalkeeper coach, Brian James, following a scuffle with Presentation College (San Fernando) paramedic Natalie Charles after the Big Four final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 12 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Still, Naparima, the most dominant school in the three-year history of the SSFL Premier Division, were on winner’s row again. And, but for the disruptions of the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 campaign, who knows what they might have achieved this year.

For Presentation, it was a case of what might have been—although Cooper put a positive spin on it.

“The only thing present in every final this year was Presentation College,” said Cooper. “We just didn’t have the killer instinct and, over the last few days, I think the players were mentally tired.”

Almost certainly, these two schools will be at each other’s throat for a trophy again next year. Although, hopefully, not literally.

(Teams)

Presentation College (San F’do) (4-2-3-1): 28.Jabari Gray (GK); 16.Mylz Barrington, 6.Matthew Joseph, 2.Shirwin Noel, 27.Juaval Roberts; 12.Darnell Hospedales, 8.Terrell Williams (5.James Alex Lee Yaw 46); 11.Jordan Riley (9.Omri Baird 56), 10.Kareem Riley (captain), 13.Jarod Gordon (19.Jarelle Steadman 87); 7.Nion Lammy.

Unused substitutes: 1.Ishmael Salaam (GK), 14.Jerrin Jackie, 15.Kent Hamilton, 23.Justin Cornwall.

Coach: Shawn Cooper

Naparima College (4-2-3-1): 1.Levi Fernandez (GK); 15.Shadeon Arthur, 2.Tyrike Andrews, 5.Rondell Payne, 3.Khris Stroud; 11.Shane Sandy (captain), 21.Justin Sadoo; 18.Ronaldo McIntosh (13.Jeron Pantor 65), 23.Renaldo Francois (4.Aalon Minors 90), 17.Mark Ramdeen (19.Andre Raymond 75); 12.Isaiah Lee.

Unused substitutes: 30.Enrique Changiah (GK), 8.Nikel Rawlins, 10.Jeremiah Kesar, 16.Decklan Marcelle.

Coach: Angus Eve

Referee: Rodphin Harris

Wired868 Man of the Match: Justin Sadoo (Naparima College)

Big Four final

(Monday 12 December)

Presentation College (San F’do) 1 (Omri Baird 74 pen), Naparima College 2 (Isaiah Lee 16, Justin Sadoo 40) at Ato Boldon Stadium.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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69 comments

  1. Boy I am joking it is just that I was shocked at the intensity. It certainly called for police intervention.

  2. This game was under the auspices of the SSFL. They must take action , both of these individuals are registered with the league as officials of their respective teams .
    There was also a match commissioner present so he should give a written report .

    But I wait …….

  3. Isaiah Lee was called but only recently, however I do get Morales point, the National U20s technical team are not looking at the pool of players properly. Justin Sadoo was the Pro League U18 & Reserve midfielder for the year 2016. It appears that they have their favourites like Kareem Riley and Corey Kupid who are less than ordinary players but continues to be selected over players such as Lee,Sadoo and Nicholas ‘Chucky” Thomas ( who starts for Club Sando in the PRO LEAGUE NOT SSFL at Right back). As for the point of playing too many games by Big ex national coach Cooper, last year Naps played 21 games and won all the trophies and if we had to play 2 extra games for the Digicel Cup we are certain we would have won those also. So is either your team good enough or not good enough and it appears that your team is not good enough. Please, stop making excuses you were aware of the schedule before the season started and you should have voiced your opinion then. Cooper should “man up” he can’t beat Angus Eve coached Naps on or off the field; his best bet is penalty kicks. As for St.Mary’s, Pres ain’t nothing special how they beat you all 9-1 the most goals a side get since the Premiership started, nice record for a school like St.Mary’s to have.Strange very strange.

  4. Big ex national coach like cooper talking about playing to much games and
    heavy conditions and schedules colleges in other countries play way more football than us at that particular level no wonder our youth teams consistently doing so poorly and Angus is not only Sadoo getting overlooked that striker of yours Isaiah Lee has been in the top two goal scorers in both premier and the youth professional league for the last few years and not getting called either as for those two big hard back woman that fighting in the school football good riddance. Wired 868 keep up the good work we love what all yuh doing.

  5. What an example to set well done staff

  6. A lot of onlookers seem to forget these boys put in a full day of school.. and had exams which must have been taxing both physically and mentally

  7. Yep, but not every player is the same makeup..

  8. Brian in a game of this nature it’s a matter of mind over matter … the mental over the physical ….

  9. Malik, exactly correct. Having played and coached in the SSFL, I saw the reality of fatigue in the game yesterday..

  10. I’ve seen top teams and players in the world game show signs of fatigue …days after performing in games despite the application of scientific recovery methodologies. Why wouldn’t this be a factor in amateur teenagers not exposed to these methods playing games within two days of each other??

  11. You can factor in everything, these are still kids playing a grueling schedule.. I see your theory Trevor, unfortunately, the practical experience has real repercussions…

  12. I say again the a Coach has to factor that is preparation , training schedules and the science of recovery are key .
    It is n this kind of situation training records and individual programs will come into play . Weight changes ,fluid intake ,electrolyte levels.
    We will observe Haiti in the Caribbean Cup .

  13. It’s a pity I live in the east. I was interested in seeing the south teams play, especially shiva boys. When I finally saw Pres play in the intercol final, it was a big let down. Good article wired 868

  14. I like the work rate and hart of Presentations #5 James Alex Lee Yaw …only saw 2 games they played but he had the fight!

  15. Guys, kids are fatigued after the league is completed, much less after intercol and Big 4. Not even an argument. Speak to any of the coaches and the majority would concur

  16. There are times that the SSFL had teams play three games within a week. You might not know it Trevor but that is actually against FIFA medical guidelines for adults!
    I don’t think fatigue is an excuse personally. Look in most competitions when one team has a two day rest and the other has a three day rest before a final and check the stats.
    In fact look at our Caribbean Cup play off schedule. T&T plays on 4 and 8 January. Haiti plays on 6 January and then meet us on 8 January.
    In effect those fixtures give us a huge, unfair advantage and no top flight professional team would ever agree to be in the position that Haiti are in.
    God help us if we can’t beat them with such a colossal advantage. Lol.

  17. I saw 15, 16 and 17 year olds as well.. But we don’t always have to agree

  18. Brian I do not agree about tiredness , good excuse though for those who have to make one .
    Player and ground condition have to be factored in it he Coaches preparation ,tactics have to be adjusted.
    These are 18,19 20 year old boys who would ,some of them go on to play for professional clubs and represent the country .

  19. Congrats Naps and tough luck Pres on being Bridesmaids all season. Lasana, do you have any statitistical compilation on the winningest teams since the SSFL’s inception? I believe Naps should have the most National Titles (League + Intercol) closely followed by St.Anthony’s, Gustine, Signal Hill, Malick not necessarily in that order.

    Naps have also been on the losing end in quite a few national finals as well so including the runners up on the list might be interesting to see which teams won and were just short of glory.

    In these technological times, one would think such statistics would be readily available from the league’s office or website?

  20. Ayoba Moore, the three relegated teams have not changed yet. But the relevant SSFL committees are still investigating.

  21. Lassana I need some verification … “Cupid entered high school at Trinity College (Moka) in 2008 and SSFL rules dictates that students can only participate in its football competitions for eight years. However, the documentation Presentation sent to the schools football administration claimed that the player did not start secondary school until 2009”. If he entered at 2008 wouldn’t the 2016 competition be equivalent to 8 yrs hence making him “eligible”?? Am I missing something here? Now granted the wrong time may have been recorded he is still “legally” eligible is he not? A lil help here just need some clarification.

  22. Again tactically outplayed,conditions called for a different type of game .
    This is a national coach .
    Game showed a lack of maturity by both teams , too many passes going astray , inability to recognize space and players quickly and use the ball movement .
    Naparima looked much better organized as a team .

    • From my vantage point, I could see the kids were tired, especially the Presentation team, after a long hard league, intercol and Big 4 season. These are kids and maturity is a hard standard for that age group.. Agreed on organization, but fatigue was a big factor, in my opinion.

  23. Presentation needs a forward not that false nine nonsense that the coach is trying

  24. Hope those two medics looking for a next job this morning. The coach of Presentation blaming the player and saying it is not the schools fault if the school did it checks they would have found the error.

  25. I have to say the lanky midfielder from Naps had a great game. This is the third time I have seen him play and the three time he played well. Why is he not on the under 20 team. The young man who played on the left for naps had him self a very very good game

  26. Nice write up Lasana. Congrats to Naps and my lil nephew, Isaiah Tommy Lee.

  27. Congrats to Naps. And I have to agree with Eve that their lanky midfielder was the best in the league this season by quite some distance. Not sure how he didnt make the Wired All Star team (shame on you wired lol). Lammy isnt really anything special sad to say. I saw him for 3 premiership games, the intercol finals and the big 4 semis and finals. He failed to impress at every opportunity. Looking at him on the field no one would have guessed that he is a national player

  28. Just glad it was not San Juan v Gustine.

  29. But why police had to be called in

  30. Congratulations to the Naps team and their coaching staff. I knew it would have been a fight to the finish.