Well, it took us long enough… The Wired868 XI finally won its own football festival—at the fifth time of asking—as MVP Marvin Oliver and sizzling Ryan “Fry” Stewart led their all-star team to a 4-1 win over the Darin Lewis Invitational XI at the UWI admin ground in St Augustine yesterday evening.
Both teams played to a draw in the first edition of the annual football gala in 2013 but Wired868 was on the losing side for the next three years.
Not this year, fellahs!
The Invitational XI drew first blood through former 2006 World Cup midfielder Densill Theobald. And, for the first 30 minutes, it looked as though Wired868 would have to buy their own ball to get a touch.
Theobald and former national midfield trio of Kerwin “Hardest” Jemmott, Travis Mulraine and 1991 World Youth Cup playmaker Anthony Sherwood were keeping the ball for fun.
If not for some good glove work from Strike Squad goalkeeper Michael “Brow” Maurice to keep out Gary Glasgow—he’s still got it!—Wired868 would have been in deeper trouble.
But we weren’t taking that jes so!
With former Strike Squad stand-out Hutson “Barber” Charles acting as player/coach, the host team levelled through ex-Soca Warriors striker and Defence Force and Pro League record goal scorer Devorn Jorsling—yeah, we took a borrow.
And ex-Morvant Caledonia United winger Abdallah Phillip equalised with a scorcher!
There was only going to be one winner after that.
Former Warriors utility player and Scotland Premier League player Anthony Rougier added some steel to the midfield to make things difficult for the boys in red, who had introduced player/coach and ex-MLS attacker and national youth player Darin “Speng” Lewis and former T&T and Pro League star Arnold Dwarika to the action by then.
Stewart, a National Super League (NSL) legend with his former club Guaya United, and Oliver, a national youth team stand-out and Pro League champion with San Juan Jabloteh and Central FC, were humming by then and it was almost a coin toss to see which player would seal the affair and take the honours.
Stewart got Wired868’s third goal from the penalty spot—although World Cup 2006 goalkeeper Clayton Ince had the audacity to put a hand on it… Before Oliver capped off the proceedings with a brilliant left-footed volley off a Stewart cross!
Oliver was named Wired868 Football Festival MVP and got a Bmobile gift bag, complete with the latest Samsung Galaxy phone.
And Jemmott won the “Spirit of Wired868” hamper for his deft touches—which belied his new portly size!—that had the crowd swooning and reminiscing.
Thanks to BP, Carib, Bmobile, UWI SPEC and our service providers for helping us pull off our fifth Football Festival. And to Tyrone Marcus, Terry Fenwick and Dennis Taye Allen for the sterling commentary—Fenwick said it was a swollen ankle and not age that kept him off the field this year!
And, most of all, thanks to the players and fans for coming out and having some fun with us.
See you next year!
Darin Lewis Invitational XI: Darin Lewis (captain), Clayton Ince, Fuad Abu Bakr, Hisham Gomes, Raefer Ross, Jason Louis Julien, Akil Harley, Ancil Elcock, Dion Sosa, Kerwin Jemmott, Kevin Eiffel, Arnold Dwarika, Anthony Sherwood, Densill Theobald, Travis Mulraine, Marc Borde, Gary Glasgow.
Wired868 XI: Hutson Charles (captain), Jefferson George, Michael Maurice, Joshua Marshall, Roger Henry, Marvin Faustin, Gregory Seale, Tyrone Marcus, Marvin Oliver, Kevin Moze, Caleb De Souza, Chris Durity, Anthony Rougier, Ahkeela Mollon, Ryan Stewart, Abdallah Phillip, Devorn Jorsling, Aydan Williams.
Editor’s Note: Check Wired868’s official Facebook page for more photographs from the Football Festival V… But here are a few snaps!
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.