NYFL 23: QPCC, Defence Force could meet in U-20 finals, as KO match-ups revealed

The knockout bracket for the Trinidad-based teams in the 2023 Republic Cup National Youth Football League (NYFL) was revealed today, with Defence Force and QPCC drawn on opposite sides of the bracket in the Under-20 competition.

If the current form of both teams holds, it could be a mouth-watering clash between the present East and North Zone champions respectively.

SMS forward Larry Noel controls the ball on his chest during their NLCL U19 Community Cup semifinal clash with Ball Blasters YA at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on 19 February 2023.
Noel also leads the Defence Force forward line during the 2023 Republic Cup NYFL U-20 competition.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

QPCC boast of Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 forward Michael Chaves and a host of SSFL Intercol champions such as the Fatima College trio of Justin Alcantara, Aidan de Gannes, and Alijah Nunes.

Incidentally, Defence Force are led by Fatima manager Stephen “Bison” Williams and retain the core of the team which lifted the 2022/23 NLCL U19 Community Cup while competing as Soccer Made Simple (SMS).

The SMS contingent includes team captain and versatile defender Tyrell Inniss and the attack duo of Larry Noel and Terron Miller.

However, Williams added his son and National Under-17 central defender Jaden Williams, Arima North Secondary goalkeeper Isaiah Diaz and former Naparima College forward Jaden McKree to their ranks.

The Republic Cup NYFL Under-20 draw pits Defence Force against the second placed South Zone team, Ste Madeleine Strikers, in the quarterfinal round. The winner of that clash will lock horns with either Central Zone champions Crown Trace FC or Malick Blue Lions in the semifinals.

QPCC forward Michael Chaves (left) tries to hold off Trendsetter Hawks player Jahim Ayres during Republic Cup NYFL U-17 action at Serpentine Road on 13 May 2023.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868)

At the other side of the bracket, QPCC will face the second place East Zone club, which will be either Athletic International Academy (AIA) or Eastern Jaguars. Jaguars, who are third at present, must defeat sixth placed FC Ginga by two or more goals to get into the knockout stage.

The remaining Under-20 match-up features South Zone champions Premier Sports Club against Eastern Counties United, the Eastern Counties winners.

There are two teams from the North, South and East Zones in the knockout stage of the Republic Cup NYFL Under-20 competition, along with one each from Central and Eastern Counties.

In the Under-17 division, there are two teams apiece from the North, Central, East and South Zones.

Crown Trace midfielder Camron Burke (centre) leaves a Gasparillo Youths opponent in the dust during NYFL action at Edinburgh 500 on 25 March 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

There is a merger of the East and Eastern Counties divisions at Under-15 level with the East Zone getting an additional half-place as a result. The East Zone’s third placed team will have a play-off against the second placed Central Zone team, while two teams from North, East, and South as well as the Central Zone winners will advance straight to the quarterfinals.

And, in the Under-13 category, the Eastern Counties winner will face the Central Zone runners-up in a playoff with the winner joining two teams each from North, South and East, along with the Central champs in the quarters.

For the second successive season, the Tobago champions will not match wits with their Trinidadian counterparts.

Ball Blasters FA defender Imanhi Forbes (left) celebrates his goal against Made in La Brea in the NLCL U19 Community Cup quarterfinal round at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on 5 February 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The Ball Blasters Youth Academy, led by Signal Hill Secondary coach Downie Marcelle, won the Tobago Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 categories. They did not field a team in the Tobago Under-20 division, which was won by Eagles FC.

The East Zone was the busiest geographic area for the NYFL competition, with 36 participants competing across four divisions—some teams are numbered multiple times as they play in several age groups.

The East Under-17 category was especially well-populated with 12 teams, which is the most in any district.

At present, six East Zone clubs can still snare either of two qualifying berths for that region with Beatnix Sports Club in pole position with 20 points, followed by the Hayden Tinto Football Academy (19 points), FC Ginga (17 points), FC Santa Rosa (16 points), Arima Semi-Pro Blasters Youth Academy (14 points) and AIA (13 points).

Beatnix SC captain Deishawn Plaza (ball in hand) waits patiently to take a free kick during Republic Cup NYFL U-17 action against Arima Blasters in St Augustine on 6 May 2023.
Plaza scored from the set piece.
(Copyright Jo Dasent/ Wired868)

AIA have three games in hand, as compared to Beatnix, while Blasters have two games in hand and Santa Rosa, Ginga and Tinto FA have one each.

The North Zone has 26 entrees while South, Central and Eastern Counties have 24, 17 and six respectively.

The Central Zone Under-15 division is the least competitive with three teams starting and two finishing, after Waterloo Institute withdrew.

The East Zone had the most participants in each age group except the Under-13 category, where the zone had seven participants compared to eight from Tobago.

Cardinals FA attacker Kayden Moraldo (left) tries to break clear of the Santa Cruz Utd defence during Republic Cup NYFL U-13 action at Serpentine Road on 13 May 2023.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868)

The NYFL knockout rounds are expected to start on May, although the dates and venues are yet to be confirmed.

In the Under-13 category, QPCC need a win over lowly IATF Academy to pip Trendsetter Hawks to the second North Zone spot behind Cardinals Football Academy, while Ginga can edge Trincity Nationals to the East title with a closing day win.

Union Hall FC and Ste Madeleine Strikers can both finish second in the South Zone Under-15 division behind winners Cox Coaching School, while Eastern Jaguars need at least a draw against champs Ginga to leapfrog the Arima Araucans Academy to third and a play-off berth.

Eastern Jaguars midfielder Akeem Abdallah (left) tries to get around Arima Araucans Academy midfielder Jeremiah George during Republic Cup NYFL action in Tacarigua on 30 April 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Arima Araucans Academy)

Premier Sports Club, Club Sando and the Point Fortin Youth Academy are all in the race for either of the two South Zone berths in the Under-17 category, while six clubs are contesting the East Zone title (as mentioned earlier).

There is only one available place in the Under-20 division, which is being chased by AIA and Eastern Jaguars.

The national champion, runners-up and second runner-up in each category will collect TT$2,000, TT$1,750 and TT$1,500 respectively, while zonal champions will be awarded trophies and medals.

Pro Series captain Tau Lamsee (centre) is congratulated by teammates after a goal against QPCC FC during Republic Cup NYFL U-17 action in St Clair on 29 April 2023.
Lamsee scored twice to help secure all three points for Pro Series.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868)

2023 Republic Cup NYFL knockout bracket

(Under-13)

A: (Central 1) Crown Trace FC vs (North 2) QPCC/ Trendsetter Hawks

B: (East 1) Trincity Nationals/ FC Ginga vs (South 2) Union Hall FC

C: (South 1) Cox Coaching School vs Winner (Central 2 vs E Counties 1) Gasparillo Youths/ Duranta FC

D: (North 1) Cardinals FA vs (East 2) FC Ginga/ Trincity Nationals

Semi-final match-ups: A v B; C v D

FC Ginga attacker Elijah Diaz (right) torments a Hayden Tinto FA defender during Republic Cup NYFL U-15 action in Tacarigua on 16 April 2023.
(Copyright Brian Miller/ Wired868)

(Under-15)

A: (Central 1) Crown Trace FC vs (North 2) QPCC FC

B: (East 1) FC Ginga vs (South 2) Union Hall FC/ Ste Madeleine Strikers

C: (South 1) Cox Coaching School vs Winner (Central 2 vs East 3) Evolution FC/ Arima Araucans/ Eastern Jaguars

D: (North 1) Pro Series vs (East 2) Arima Semi-Pro Blasters YA

Semi-final match-ups: A v B; C v D

Crown Trace attacker Supreme Outar (right) looks for an attacking option during NYFL action against Gasparillo Youths at Edinburgh 500 on 25 March 2023.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

(Under-17)

A: (Central 1) Crown Trace FC vs (North 2) Trendsetter Hawks/ QPCC/ Police FC

B: (East 1) Beatnix SC/ Hayden Tinto FA/ FC Ginga/ FC Santa Rosa/ Arima Blasters/ AIA vs (South 2) Club Sando/ Premier SC/ Pt Fortin YA

C: (North 1) Pro Series vs (East 2) Beatnix SC/ Hayden Tinto FA/ FC Ginga/ FC Santa Rosa/ Arima Blasters/ AIA

D: (South 1) Premier SC/ Club Sando/ Pt Fortin YA vs (Central 2) Gasparillo Youths

Semi-final match-ups: A v B; C v D

Trendsetter Hawks U-17 attacker Andell Fraser on the charge during Republic Cup NYFL U-17 action against QPCC at Serpentine Road on 13 May 2023.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868)

(Under-20)

A: (Central 1) Crown Trace FC vs (North 2) Malick Blue Lions 

B: (East 1) Defence Force vs (South 2) Ste Madeleine Strikers

C: (South 1) Premier SC vs (Eastern Counties 1) Eastern Counties United

D: (North 1) QPCC vs (East 2) Athletic International Academy/ Eastern Jaguars

Semi-final match-ups: A v B; C v D

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One comment

  1. What is the position re Maracas and those defaulted games? thus giving Jaguars a chance to advance. This must be dealt with

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