Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) champions Shiva Boys Hindu College showed Naparima who were the real bosses on the opening day of 2017 Premier Division action at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva with a late 2-1 win this evening.
With an almost identical roster to their 2016 championship winning team, Shiva Boys needed the 83rd minute intervention of new recruit, Jude Phillip, to beat their southern rivals in what turned out to an exciting and tense finish.
The defending champs Shiva Boys held the lead for the majority of the game through a Junior “Barry” Asson strike but were made to work for the win late on in a game where Naparima lacked the final polish to truly sparkle on the night.
Shiva Boys head coach Hayden Ryan commended his troops at the final whistle and toasted their resilience.
“What we saw was a team that played for a whole 90 minutes,” Hayden Ryan told Wired868. “They were ahead for most of the game and then, when [Naparima] equalised, they didn’t let their heads drop. They raised their heads and played for the whole game and got the win.”
The Ato Boldon surface wasn’t always the easiest for the two SSFL juggernauts but it proved considerably less tricky to manoeuvre around than in the opening encounter.
In the earlier kick off, Carapichaima East Secondary overcame a waterlogged field and a wasteful Fatima College to record a solid 2-0 victory on their return to the SSFL Premiership Division.
With a flooded field and a technical area and cycling track that resembled a pond, the first 15 minutes of the game could have been mistaken for a synchronised swimming performance by both teams.
Keeping ones footing was a skill that few mastered but for the Bourne supremacy shown by Carapichaima ace forward Theophilus Bourne.
Bourne immediately put the three-man Fatima defence on its heels in an enterprising opening for the Central based team. And, with his lanky lieutenant, Daniel Pascal also able to keep his feet on the ground, Bourne began to probe and forced Fatima into panicked defending.
And, in the 27th minute, Fatima custodian Jacob Camacho was hung out to dry by his defence as “Caps” defender Symron Wiseman sent Kevon Williams free down the left channel. Williams wriggled away from one opponent before calmly placing below Camacho for the opening goal of the SSFL 2017 season.
Fatima and National Under-20 midfielder Stephon Marcano tried to inspire his team’s recovery but saw his dangerous deliveries repeatedly wasted while he was denied from distance by Caps custodian Aaron Best.
Fatima head coach Wayne Sheppard sent on the National Under-15 duo of Justin Araujo-Wilson and Zachary Welch to help him out but both looked short on confidence—perhaps expectedly as they recently returned from a disastrous CONCACAF Championship in which they conceded 21 goals and scored one in four matches.
Bourne had no such insecurities and Fatima’s right flank players might need counselling as they were battered for the entire game with the Caps attacker leading the charge.
In the 55 minute, Bourne glided beyond Fatima right wing back Luke Boucaud—for what seemed like the umpteenth time—and jinxed his way around the sprawled out Camacho with assured precision, only for his teammate, Pascal, to muff his pass.
A few moments later, Bourne coaxed the right finish from teammate Elijah King, as the latter produced a volley into the bottom corner after another mazy dribble and lobbed cross by the former player. It capped a tidy 2-0 win for Caps.
In the showpiece match-up between perennial title contenders, Naparima charged at the Shiva Boys defenders like bats out of hell and could have taken the lead immediately after kick off but for alert defender by Jabari Graham, which halted an enterprising run and shot from“Naps” attacker Nikel Rawlin.
The defending champs were struggling to deal with Naps’ pace and aggression and would have been relieved to see opposing midfielder Jarod Pantor’s shot cross against the crossbar, after an excellent cross by National Under-20 utility player Rushawn Murphy—a former Malick Secondary schoolboy and Pro League player with St Ann’s Rangers and Club Sando.
However, Shiva Boys kept their composure and responded when it mattered off a corner kick. Inexplicably, the Naparima defence left opposing striker Junior “Barry” Asson free in the six yard box and the SSFL 2016 silver boot winner made no mistake in the 14th minute.
Shiva Boys began to strut with captain and conductor-in-chief, Judah Garcia, commanding central midfield while Naps, for all their energy, lacked the creativity provided last season by lynchin Justin Sadoo.
This evening, Eve turned to another precocious talent, Mark Ramdeen, and towering forward Isa Bramble—a second half substitute—to stage a recovery.
The two threatened sporadically but it was Murphy who proved to be difference maker. Brought in to replace last season’s top scorer Isaiah Lee at the tip of the Naparima attack, he restored parity for “Naps” in the 77th minute with a curling free-kick that the opposing keeper, De-Jon Blondell, should have done better with.
Blondel got his two fists to the ball, only for it to slice off his gloves and nestle into the back of the net. Game on!
Then came the sucker punch. Ryan sent on SSFL 2016 MVP Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel to turn the tide and his influence was felt as soon as he crossed the by-line.
Immediately, Shiva Boys began to assert themselves again on the ball and, with 83 minutes on the clock, Phillip—who captained Pleasantville Secondary last season—came up with the winner after sliding in to convert a cross-cum-shot from teammate Tyrell “Sexyman” Baptiste.
Last season, Phillip and Pleasantville were relegated after a “Sexyman” goal in their penultimate game of the season. Today, Phillip leapt into Baptiste’s arms to celebrate with his new teammates amidst a chorus cheers from the large crowd of Shiva Boys supporters.
Phillip was welcomed in his new home too.
If you don’t believe me, ask the jubilant fans who caught Phillip’s shirt as he ripped it off while pounding his chest in celebration.
First move goes to Shiva Boys.
Carapichaima East (4-4-1-1): 1.Aaron Best (GK); 2.Colin Wheeler, 4.Brandon St Clair, 5.Andre St Clair, 3.Symron Wiseman; 9.Kevon Williams, 17.Macaheil Alexander, 20.Elijah King (11.Kellon Burnett), 6.Joshua King; 10.Daniel Pascal; 8.Theophilus Bourne.
Unused Substitutes: 7.Yohance Brereton, 23.Aaron St Clair, 21.Israel Moore, 13. Daneil St Clair, 16.Iiju James.
Coach: Randolph Boyce
Fatima (3-5-2): 1.Jacob Camacho (GK); 19.Lleyton Augustine, 8.Isaiah Lamont, 3.Joshua Evans; 14.Luke Boucaud, 21.Luke Gooding (13.Zachary Welch), 10.Andrew Abraham, 18.Kaylon Taylor (11.Justin Araujo-Wilson) 4.Joshua Araujo-Wilson (C), 9.Mikhail McComie (20.Jean-Heim Mc Fee), 7.Stephon Marcano
Unused Substitutes: 38.Jabari Dennis, 15.Elisha Taylor, 2.Christopher Serrant, 5.Jordan Romany.
Coach: Wayne Sheppard
Man of the Match: Theophilus Bourne (Carapichaima East)
Shiva Boys (4-1-4-1): 24.De-Jon Blondell (GK); 32. Ronald Charles, 19.Yohannes Richardson, 12.Jabari Graham, 14.Matthew Beal; 21.Aaron Rodney (6. Tyrel Emmanuel); 17.Ronaldo Edwards (15.Kierron Mason), 10.Judah Garcia, 8.Jude Phillip, 7.Quinn Rodney; 11.Junior Asson (9.Tyrel Baptiste).
Unused Substitutions: 22.Denzil Smith (GK), 16.Simeon De Bourgh, 33.Ryan Davis, 18.Muquasie Alexander.
Coach: Hayden Ryan
Naparima (4-3-2-1): 30.Enrique Changiah (GK); 15.Shadeon Arthur, 5.Rondell Payne (C), 2.Tyrique Andrews, 19.Andre Raymond (7.Isa Bramble); 6.Judah St Louis (8.Kodel Frontin), 13.Jeron Pantor; 16.Decklan Marcelle, 18.Ronaldo Mc Intosh, 11.Nikel Rawlins (10.Mark Ramdeen); 9.Rushawn Murphy.
Unused Substitutions: 1.Levi Fernandez (GK), 3.Akil Johnson, 17.Shoaib Khan, 26.Seon Shippley.
Coach: Angus Eve
Man of the Match: Judah Garcia (Shiva Boys)
SSFL 2017 results
(Friday 8 September)
Carapichaima East 2 (Kevon Williams 27, Elijah King 59), Fatima College 0 at Ato Boldon Stadium;
Shiva Boys HC 2 (Junior Asson 14, Jude Phillip 83), Naparima College 1 (Rushawn Murphy 77) at Ato Boldon Stadium.
(Saturday 9 September)
St Benedict’s College v St Anthony’s College, 3.40pm, Barrackpore;
Speyside High v QRC, 3.40pm, Speyside;
St Mary’s College v St Augustine Sec, 3.40pm, St Mary’s;
Fyzabad Secondary v Trinity College Moka, 3.40pm, Fyzabad;
Trinity College East v Signal Hill, 3.40pm, Trincity;
Presentation College v San Juan North, 3.40pm, Guaracara Park.
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All dem four St. Clair’s with Carapichaima is family?
Good question. Maybe Sean Taylor can find out.
Liked what i saw from Caps in the conditions. Can’t believe we only have one water pump that works at Ato Bolton stadium. It just defies logic.
Smh… The “Home of Football”.
hahaha. yuh so damn right Lasana…..
Not only one water pump but is it in the right place I.e. the lowest point and has anyone worked out the pump capacity in relation to possible water quantity and time taken …g.p.m.?
Jude Phillip was Pleasantville’s captain last year.. Not so?
Not sure who the two best teams are at the start of the season. Past performance is not always a good indicator of what happens today or in the future
Brent, remember we discussed Isaiah Lee travelling from Valencia to San Fernando to go to school at Naps? I remember Carlos Lee disagreed with us then. But the boy didn’t get the passes he needed to play this season.
I’m not knocking the boy because he still has many years ahead of him to get his studies in order. But I don’t think young men should have to deal with those kinda commutes for school when you have an extra curricular activity like football that takes up so much of your time to start with.
That’s the whole reason of the zoning system in the first place. I wish the Ministry looked into that for the benefit of the students.
True or not true Carlos Lee?
Lasana – what city were you born and what secondary school did you attend? In a society where you have unequal schools why should a kid who is born in the countryside or in a town with subpar schools be forced to settle for less? And likewise, if a kid has a chance to play with an outstanding coach, outstanding players, on potentially the best team in the country why should he pass on it? The kid was presented with a great opportunity and took it. And because of that hopefully more great opportunities will come.
Los, I don’t think we are knocking the decision to go to a good academic institution. In fact it’s better than going to Arima for academic purposes. But for someone to travel from Valencia to Sando for academics is a stretch. We know this was about football first and academics second… that’s all we are saying. Nonetheless right now I have one of my friends wanting a striker for the 2018 season and you know where I stand on your nephew
Brent – it was the best of both worlds opportunity. When you left Compre for JMU did you rationale the move as football first, academics second? No – you saw it as an opportunity – a stepping stone. You figured if you took that step other, better opportunities would come.
That actually is a poor analogy. Of course it was but I wasn’t travelling 2 or 3 hours one way to school either under the pretense of academics. Again I’m not knocking him at all but maybe just maybe the kid was too tired to focus academically?
In fact Los, that was one of the reasons I went to Arima. I got tired of waking up at 5 am to catch transport to school in San Juan. At Arima I was waking up at 7am and at school by 8.
Brent – we all have to do what’s best for us. But you and I know if you were attending QRC, St. Mary’s, Fatima or one of the other prestigious schools you might not have made the same decision. I suspect you and your family might have said make the sacrifice and get your ass out of bed lol
Actually you’re wrong Carlos. If I had those opportunities I would not have accepted them. There was no way I wanted to handle those 2 hour commutes, it was painful. Then again, perhaps Isaiah and I had different academic abilities as well.
Remember Los, you didn’t know this but you were one of my role models. You made it playing at Arima. I never forgot that
Interesting – can I ask what was your first choice schools when you sat common entrance or was about to leave secondary school?
Everyone has the prestige schools on their list. Nobody puts Mt. Hope as their first choice. Keep in mind that at 11, are you making those choices or your parents? Additionally I lived in SJ until I was 10, so we knew more about those northern prestige schools than anything. That said, I had no desire to attend those institutions after I sat exams. At 16, I studying two things, football and girls….lol
The reason I asked the above is because I wanted to show that just about every kid from the east was interested in attending a prestigious school in the north. We never thought about how long it would take to get there. How early we would have to get up and how late in the evening we would get home. It was all about the potential opportunity.
In that same breath, how many of those kids wanted to attend Naps or Pres?
Honestly – back then most folks from the east figured everything north was better than down south lol
Or maybe I should say West lol
Same difference yes
Carlos Lee I lived in Arima and went to school at CIC. That was 30 minutes to 45 minutes by bus. Ask Isaiah how long it takes him to get to Naparima.
If you look around the maxi stand in Arima or Sangre Grande, you would see a couple uniforms for CIC, St George’s, QRC, St Joseph’s Convent… I’d bet the only person with a San Fernando school uniform would be him. And that’s not because the south schools are not good. It’s because of the same issues that Brent raised.
Academically, he could have gone to Trinity East, CIC, QRC or Fatima and got an education, played football and got home at a more reasonable hour for his homework.
If he wants a good chance to win the title though, then it is Naparima or Shiva Boys.
I don’t knock his ambition but then he doesn’t get his passes and Naps just goes out and gets another big striker. And Rushawn Murphy is no joke at all.
Thankfully, I’m sure you will make sure that Isaiah has other chances to advance academically. But what about other kids who make choices like that and suddenly the bell has rung, they don’t have the passes and the school moves on?
I wouldn’t knock the schools Lasana. They present great opportunities to kids like Isaiah. The onus, however, is on the kid to ensure they make full use of it. It’s a symbiotic relationship so no harm if both parties derive benefits from the partnership.
Carlos he coulda go Holy Cross 😀
All joking aside I commuted from Valencia to Cross, which was a breeze, then had to make the adjustment to ‘Gustine for Sixth Form. As ‘liberating’ as it was to enjoy the maxi culture (and pubescent girls), even that trip to St. Augustine was a haul. Much less Valencia to Naparima.
Lol – Holy Cross does play ball? ?
Aks Kelvin 😀
I did Valencia to Mt Hope for 3 years and honestly never thought much about it. I just did it because that’s what I had to do. I know men who did Grande to QRC everyday – getting up at 4:00 am and returning home after 6 pm. They just did it. We do what we have to do in life.
Carlos, so imagine for Valencia to San Fernando…
The ministry should look into all these transfers because it’s ridiculous. I hope Isaiah gets the grades needed because I have a scholarship waiting for him although I suspect he already has one lined up. But to answer your question specifically regardless of what Carlos said this was more of football move and less to do with academics
Where is Isaiah Lee now tho?
Preparing for the next opportunity.
Holy cross played no football except one time a few games at U16 level.. it’s all academics and cricket there
And do every year they have to match up the 2 best teams in the season opener?..steups
It didn’t happen this year. Pres didn’t play in de opening match.?
When are they going to clamp down on players jumping school’s every so often and to different parts of the country to boot?
Nice start from the 3 out the 4 teams. I Fatima will struggle.
The positive way to look at it is there are definitely talented teenagers out there. 🙂
I remember almost two years ago being really impressed with Rushawn Murphy’s play in the Pro League. I thought he had real potential to go far as a central midfielder.
Now, two years later, he is playing in the SSFL?! Schools football is a step up from the adult game yes. Lol.
he played in pro league as a teenager ?
Yes. He would have the age. He was on the National Under-20 Team last year. He debuted at 17 or 18 for Rangers. Then he joined Club Sando at the start of this season.
Angus Eve is coach of Sando and Naparima.
I understand Kieron Mason came on for Shiva Boys. He is another National Under-20 player.
Lasana Liburd Mason is a man amongst boys – maybe the best player for the U20s last year in Costa Rica…
Astounding. Starting players in the Pro League step out and enter the SSFL program instead. Must be intimidating for the less experienced players in the league.
Although in theory, it should do wonders for the sessions that the school coaches have with their players.
That should be disbarred. How can one play in a “pro league” and then be allowed to play in an amateur school league? And we wonder why we not serious about development..
Not about development or education, just titles, monies, & accolades.
Brent scotch and coconut water, da’iz how.