Trendsetter Hawks, SKHY FC, St Ann’s Rangers and Santa Cruz FA all survived the final day of North Zone action yesterday as the 2015 Republic Bank National Youth Cup veers toward the knockout round on Saturday August 22 at Constantine Park in Macoya, Tunapuna.
It was a goal fest at the Queen’s Park Savannah for the SKHY Under-13s and attacker Justin Araujo led the way with seven items from two games yesterday, which brought his overall tally to a remarkable 11 goals in four North Zone matches.
Trendsetter was fairly comfortable at Under-11 level too, as young Luke Williams and Quddos Hypolite both shone, while St Ann’s Rangers topped their group in the Under-13 division and tied the Santa Cruz Football Academy in the Under-15s.
It was action until virtually the last whistle in the national youth football tournament.
Early morning showers and overcast clouds gave way to sweltering conditions in Port of Spain as teams scrambled to get their uniforms on in time for their 9.30 am start. They were not quite sharp enough.
The opening whistle came at around 10 am and Trendsetter Hawks, the long-standard ‘Lords of the Savannah’, got a rough start in the Under-15 division.
Trendsetter was playing in two divisions at once but word that their Under-15s were trailing 2-0 to Santa Cruz prompted renowned head coach Anthony “Dada” Wickham to leave his Under-11s to come across and have a look.
“Aye this team not playing any football to beat we boy,” shouted Dada, “what really going on?!”
Silky Santa Cruz attacker Nathaniel Perouse would probably beg to differ, as it was he who got both goals for the East Zone visitors. And they weren’t shabby efforts either.
Peruse’s first goal was a left-footed volley, which evaded the reach of the undersized Trendsetter goalkeeper, while his second volley came off the right foot and smashed against the underside of the crossbar before bouncing over the goal line.
Trendsetter promptly changed goalkeepers while Dada’s choice words and presence seemed to inspire his squad as they roared back with three goals. Perouse had the final word though with a shot that arrowed into the bottom corner.
Three apiece it finished; what a cracker!
The 14-year-old Perouse plans to win a spot in the San Juan North Secondary team for the 2015 SSFL Premier Division season and there was evidence today that “Bourg Mulatresse” fans have reason to be excited.
The sun was biting by then, and it was not alone. The coaches were biting, the parents were getting their nibbles in too and the tackles had something behind them as well.
The young players definitely could not complain of a lack of support as the sidelines were filled with cheering and belligerent parents, much to the annoyance of the linesmen on a few occasions.
SKHY made the most of their support in the Under-13 category as they blew away P&D Coaching School (6-1) and QPCC FA (4-1) to top Group A without exerting much energy.
A well-drilled and composed St Ann’s Rangers team triumphed in Group B of the Under-13 category as they turned back Memphis FC and Santa Cruz.
Trendsetter Hawks lacked the personnel to compete at that level although, with a squad of mostly under-11 players, they were still strong enough to outgun Santa Cruz 3-2.
But, as four games played simultaneously, the schedule was too much for the young Hawks as they forfeited their remaining games and even had their sole victory annulled.
Dada’s young army was too much for the Under-11 category, though, as they convincingly beat all comers with a slick, passing style. Williams, for one, demonstrated technical attributes way beyond his years.
The goals dried up in the Under-15 age group after the early six-goal affair between Santa Cruz and Trendsetter. Playing on the largest field of the competition seemed to take its toll on the players as errant passes repeatedly disrupted the build-up play.
Santa Cruz, Trendsetter and St Ann’s Rangers were all awarded three points due to the absence of Step By Step’s Under-15 team. And things got more complicated and heated as all three games ended in stalemates.
Rangers played to a pair of one-all draws with Santa Cruz and Trendsetter in what were very tight and tense contests. And the relief was evident when a Santa Cruz official slapped his own chest in celebration of a late tying goal from his squad.
That equaliser meant Santa Cruz and Trendsetter ended their North Zone campaign locked on points, goal difference and goals scored. There was talk of a coin toss but the two head coaches decided that they would decide their fates with a play off instead before the quarterfinals officially kicks off.
There was no shortage of intrigue as the Republic Bank Youth Cup signed off in the North Zone at around 5 pm. The Under-11s wowed, the Under-13s dazzled and the Under-15s toughened things up a bit; but it was all good.
Spectator and parents were possibly introduced to some future football stars too as nicknames like “Bubba”, “Ziggy” and “Jah Jah” were hurled about.
No, I did not make that up.
Yesterday’s Republic Bank Youth Cup results
Trendsetter Hawks 4 (Quddoos Hypolite 20, Luke Wiliams 21, 23, Josiah Williams 36), Santa Cruz FA 1 (Johann Perouse 25), Group B;
Memphis FC 2 (Thassius Devenish 22, Tyrese Morgan 40), Caledonia Utd AIA 2 (Malik Inniss 19, Vikash Ragbir 35), Group B;
Caledonia Utd AIA 2 (Vikash Ragbir 16, 24), Santa Cruz FA 0, Group B;
Memphis FC 0, Trendsetter Hawks 3 (Amir Gorkin 27, Josiah Wilson 32, Quddoos Hypolite 38), Group B;
Trendsetter Hawks 4 (Jaheim Marshall 14, Josiah Wilson 30, Quddoos Hypolite 32, Jaheim Williams 39), Caledonia Utd AIA 0, Group B;
Memphis FC 0, Santa Cruz FA 1 (Nathan Pascall 26), Group B, 2.30 pm;
P&D Coaching School 0, QPCC FA 1 (Aalon Wilson-Wright 31), Group A;
Trendsetter Hawks 0, Santa Cruz FA 3, Group B, Santa Cruz win by default;
SKHY FC 6 (Niam Pompey 1, Jahrel Nedd 6, Justin Araujo 11, 37, 39, John Jackman), P&D Coaching School 1 (Giovanni Warner 31), Group A;
St Ann’s Rangers 2 (Kevon Manswell 23, Jaheim Mc Fee 27), Memphis FC 1 (Nickell Alexander 9), Group B;
SKHY FC 6 (Justin Araujo 3, 19, 35, 46, Jeremiah Williams 14, OG), QPCC FA 1 (Zackery Welch 30), Group A;
Memphis FC 3 (Nickell Alexander 4, John Layne 6, 29), Santa Cruz FA 0, Group B;
Trendsetter Hawks 0, St Ann’s Rangers 3, Group B, Rangers win by default;
St Ann’s Rangers 2 (Kevon Manswell 23, 46), Santa Cruz FA 0, Group B, 1.30 pm;
Memphis FC 3, Trendsetter Hawks 0, Group B, Memphis win by default;
Trendsetter Hawks 3 (Kadeem Morris 30, Curtis Romany 34, Jesse Williams 46), Santa Cruz FA 3 (Nathaniel Perouse 3, 25, 59);
St Ann’s Rangers 3, Step By Step 0, Rangers win by default;
Step By Step 0, Santa Cruz FA 3, Santa Cruz win by default;
Trendsetter Hawks 1 (Curtis Romany 59), St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Brandell Timothy 57);
Step By Step 0, Trendsetter Hawks 3, Hawks win by default;
St Ann’s Rangers 1 (Joel Hibbert 14), Santa Cruz FA 1 (Carlton Campbell 24);
WEZ Pro v Point Fortin Civic, Group A, 9.30 am;
Uprising Youths v Point Fortin Civic, Group A, 10.30 am;
Uprising Youths v WEZ Pro, Group A, 12.30 pm;
WEZ Pro v St Madeline Strikers, Group A, 9.30 am;
Uprising Youths v Point Fortin Civic, Group A, 10.30 am;
Uprising Youths v WEZ Pro, Group A, 11.30 am;
Point Fortin Civic v St Madeline Strikers, Group A, 12.30 pm;
St Madeline Strikers v Uprising Youths, Group A, 1.30 pm;
WEZ Pro v Point Fortin Civic, Group A, 2.30 pm;
Gasparillo Youths v Club Sando, 9.30 am;
Uprising Youths v Point Fortin Civic, 10.30 am;
Point Fortin Civic v Gasparillo Youths, 11.30 am;
Club Sando v Uprising Youths, 12.30 pm;
Uprising Youths v Gasparillo Youths, 1.30 pm;
Point Fortin Civic v Club Sando, 2.30 pm.