HydroTech Guaya United FC are champions of the inaugural Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) One competition, the Guayaguayare-based club pipping FC Santa Rosa today on the final match day of the season.
Santa Rosa were one point clear atop the standings at kick-off and needed a win over the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) to secure the title at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar. Instead, UTT stunned their hosts 1-0, thus allowing the Ron La Forest-coached Guaya United to pinch the trophy with an emphatic 6-1 win over Defence Force on the south-east coast.
There was still about a minute left in Guaya’s outing when word filtered through that Santa Rosa had lost. And team manager Jameson Rigues said the party started immediately.
“It is a big success for us and the people of Guayaguayare and the people here are even talking about a holiday tomorrow—if it were possible,” Rigues told Wired868. “They were hugging players and lifting them up and jumping up and down. I feel so good, so elated. This is something we want to repeat next season.”
In Malabar, there was less goodwill as Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy and referee Rodphin Harris exchanged pleasantries during the match while midfielder Jesse Rampersad was ejected for dissent in stoppage time.
After the final whistle, Look Loy raged about their unsuccessful shout for a penalty and Rampersad’s late red card. And he made it clear that the truce between his club and the Trinidad and Tobago Referees’ Association—which saw Rosa promise not to criticise officials so they would end a brief boycott of their matches—was over.
“Now the season [is] done, I can begin talking again and I can begin posting videos again,” said Look Loy, who is also the TTSL president. “I am not blaming the referee for the loss because, even with that penalty, that might have made it 1-1. I’m not saying he gave [UTT] a goal. But decisions throughout the match were clearly not in our favour, the two worst decisions being the denied penalty and the red card.”
That was, of course, just one way to look at it. The other was that the result reflected an off-colour performance by talented Rosa playmaker Ryan Stewart—ironically, the former Guaya captain—plus a super showing from UTT goalkeeper Perry Martin and central defender Taryll Coutou.
And, most importantly, it was decided on a moment of magic from UTT substitute and former Trinidad and Tobago international striker Cornell Glen.
“It is just good to get a win and end the season on a good note and give [UTT] motivation for next season,” said Glen. “[…] I think a lot of people were rooting for us to win with the situation with Keith [Look Loy] and all the controversy behind that.
“But I am here to help with the young guys; for them to see me doing well so they can emulate that and take it into the next season. That was my role and function here and I am glad I fulfilled that.”
In truth, it was a scrappy affair for much of the first hour, with neither team particularly fluent on the ball.
UTT captain and forward Kevaughn Connell had the best chance of the first half but headed wide from 10 metres off a free kick from Glen’s younger sibling, Cyrano Glen, in the 29th minute.
At the other end, Rosa midfielder Nathan Julien offered flashes of dangerous intent but could not get anything on target while forward Kheelon Mitchell looked out of sorts and hit straight at Martin in his one glimpse of goal.
Mitchell, according to Look Loy, was Rosa’s third choice on top after a season-ending injury to Keron Clarke and the suspension of Rashad Griffith.
The Rosa coach blamed their somewhat ragged appearance on financial issues, as they struggled to pay stipends due to the absence of prize money—owed by All Sport Promotions for winning the 2016 Super League competition—and with players unable to get time-off from work to train.
“We didn’t prepare properly [and] we have had serious problems in the last six matches or so with attendance in training and so on,” said Look Loy. “We have done very well to bring it to the last day. […] But then all the other clubs have the same problem except Guaya—they are printing money.”
Still, the headlines might have been different but for a stroke of luck in the 52nd minute. Rosa midfielder Keston Jones rose to meet a Durwin Ross cross and headed past the opposing goalkeeper, only for his effort to strike the inside of the post and rebound across the face of the goal before being cleared to safety.
Look Loy held his head in disbelief.
Then came the turning point. Tigerish Rosa and St Vincent and the Grenadines international midfielder Ross and Cyrano went for a 50/50 ball and, remarkably, Ross didn’t fancy it and pulled out of the tackle.
In a flash, the ball was relayed upfront to the elder Glen, who had been on the field for roughly 10 minutes and two Rosa defenders in attendance. UTT flanker Garvin Samaroo sprinted to join the former World Cup 2006 attacker and streamed into space to his left.
Glen pulled his leg over the ball as if to backheel into Samaroo’s path. The Rosa defenders, Jesse Reyes and Alfie James, were alert to the possibility of a pass but Glen seemed to know exactly what they were thinking.
“I saw the defender cheating [to cover] the guy making the overlapping run,” said the 36-year-old Glen, “and I decided to take it and shoot [instead].”
Glen dummied, as though to pass, and kept going towards the opposing box. Reyes and James hesitated for barely a fraction of a second but it was enough time for Trinidad and Tobago’s fifth highest goal-scorer of all time to line up and release his shot.
Manning did not have a prayer, as the shot from the edge of the area nestled in the far corner.
“It was a typical striker’s finish,” said Glen.
By which he meant, it was typical for a striker of his calibre.
Rosa substitute Dorian Robinson should have equalised in the 71st minute but headed over from a Kevon Cornwall corner kick. And, in the 75th minute, Look Loy was trading words with a familiar adversary as Harris appeared to order him off the bench before having a change of heart.
“[Harris] threatened to put me off because I told him my player was kicked from behind,” said Look Loy. “I said ‘well, put me off’. Then when I start to go, he comes and tells the fourth man, if he tells me anything again I will put him off. [That is] because he has nothing to write in the report about why he is putting me off.
“[…] Referees come with an agenda [to Santa Rosa games]. Therefore, when he thinks he has an opportunity to put me off for the crowd to see and for you to report on it tomorrow, he tells me come off. But when he reflects for a split-second that I have given him nothing to write in the report about why he put me off, he changes his mind.”
By then, Glen had hurt the same forearm that was fractured during Gold Cup qualifying action for Trinidad and Tobago in January and became a peripheral figure as UTT came under immense pressure.
In the 77th minute, Martin tipped over a cross-cum-shot from Osei Sandy while, three minutes later, he made a fine, flying save to keep out a Rampersad header.
There was a loud penalty appeal in the 85th minute, as Stewart went down and Look Loy and the Rosa contingent argued that Coutou—a former St Benedict’s College defender—had taken him out with a swung arm.
Perhaps, Santa Rosa’s next highlight reel will make interesting viewing. But, at first glance, there was little to suggest that Harris had got it wrong.
Martin pulled off another superb save in stoppage time to thwart a Sandy header while, just seconds before the final whistle, Rampersad appeared to talk himself into a straight red cad.
The fat lady, by then, was already warming up her vocal chords.
“I asked the guys to sum up the season in one game and they did that,” the UTT coach told Wired868. “They played with heart, they played with discipline and with composure. I can’t ask for anything more.
“It is the ending of this season but it is a real good start for the coming season.”
Look Loy was far less pleased.
“The referees don’t have a problem with the Super League, they have a problem with Look Loy and with Santa Rosa,” said the Santa Rosa coach. “And I guarantee you that they will continue having a problem because the footage from the selected incidents from this game will be on Facebook tomorrow! Let them strike!”
In Guayaguayare, the party was already in full swing.
“Although this was a nail-biting finish, I always had confidence,” said Rigues. “I knew it was a thin line between us and Rosa but we had an artiste here and eats and drinks; because I have confidence in my team and I know God works in mysterious ways.
“[…] This season, we won two of the three titles, as we won the League and the League Cup but got knocked out of the FA by W Connection in the quarters. I want to win all three next season!”
Carlon “Judgment” Hughes scored four times for Guaya today while Russell Alfred and Jody Allsop managed one item apiece against Defence Force. But the most important goal was scored by Glen.
Almost certainly, we have not heard the last of the fall-out from today’s affair in Malabar as Look Loy’s comments will again put him in the sights of the local refereeing bodies.
He might counter that they had it in for him anyway.
FC Santa Rosa (4-2-3-1): 22.Kitwana Manning (GK); 2.Quilon Dick, 20.Jesse Reyes, 5.Alfie James (captain), 15.Osei Sandy; 10.Keston Jones (25.Dorian Robinson 67), 21.Durwin Ross; 9.Nathan Julien, 24.Ryan Stewart, 14.Saleem Henry (27.Kevon Cornwall 61); 23.Kheelon Mitchell (26.Jesse Rampersad 60)
Unused substitutes: 4.Kerron Reid, 8.Sheldon Nesbitt, 18.Stephen Johnson.
Coach: Keith Look Loy
UTT (4-2-3-1): 30.Perry Martin (GK); 17.Rickyl Morris, 5.Joseph Brown, 3.Taryll Coutou, 32.Kareem Hamilton (36.Cornell Glen 56); 12.J’deem Parris, 35.Cyrano Glen (28.Akil Clarke 81); 33.Garvin Samaroo, 24.Moses Jaikaran, 8.Myles Ryan (4.Ishmael Daniel 13); 20.Kevaughn Cornell (captain).
Unused substitutes: 22.Kenny Dick (GK), 15.Janeke Danzell, 25.Adisa Hutson.
Coach: Clayton Morris
Referee: Rodphin Harris
Wired868 Man-of-the-Match: Perry Martin (UTT)
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The 30 goals scored by Carlon Hughes equals the 30 goals scored by Joe Public’s Roen Nelson in 2004. Has anyone scored more goals in a Super League season?
I think Josimar Belgrave scored over 30 goals when the Army won it a couple seasons ago. I will have to double check that.
I just checked, and Belgrave scored 31 during the 2015/16 season.
Josimar scored 31 goals (in all competitions) in the 2015/16 season.
In 2004, Crab Connection’s Marlon Warner scored 35 goals, but then 10 goals were deducted because the TTFF declared WASA’s 15-13 victory over them to be null and void. Warner scored 10 goals in that game. LOL.
Judgement actually scored 37 in all competitions this season
OK, I was strictly talking about the league though.
Having the president of the TTSL arguing on the sidelines can’t be to beneficial towards the development of the league time to do like the TTFA president and support yuh team from the stands. You should be building bridges not burning them let the fans show the passion you need to relax and be professional.
Well said Nigel Myers.
Congrats to Guaya United.
The financial struggle is real…
SO true Bass! So many clubs see the football but misunderstand the expenses and work to get it done. It’s not cheap even at this ‘amateur’ level 🙁
Nicholas Lochan I can tell you about that after our executive literally toted Real Maracas for 6 years at Super League level without a sponsor… coaches, transport, uniforms, league registration, medical, meals on some days, salaries, end of year award all expenses and I can go on and on and on people don’t know half the stories when coming to running a team yet they judge you…
We just took a decision early to not continue as it just was not practical… we love the game, we love what we do. Do we miss it??? Hell yes! Does it make economical sense? No! Yuh see when a team is financially strapped the administrators and the “players” suffer… these guys have lives, kids, families, medical expenses etc so they too suffer tremendously so why go back into it to make the players suffer?
And that’s the passion and expertise we can’t afford to lose. Same for players. If only the two Leagues could meet and see how to tweak a National league model that can survive, grow & not be an economic burden.
On another note, what it is went on with Siparia Spurs this season? 9 points? Come on man. And then they forfeited their last couple of matches. What is de background story there?
When “decision day” is the last day of the season, that can only be a good thing. It shows a high degree of competitiveness in the league, at least between the top two teams. I welcomed de controversies and bacchanal, because it means some degree of passion is being displayed. We eh want ah sterile league.
That’s a good point Nigel. Not taking anything from Pro League but the passion from Clubs and fans was good. It augurs well to rebuild and increase fan bases and come again for 2018
The Pro League can learn a thing or two from the Super League. Frankly, I doh know why people doh just put they head together and figure out how revitalize local football. Actually ah lie, is mostly because of ego. LOL.
I’ve been pounding on the door for a merger!!!!! Truthfully some teams should not be in either league, but creatively the owners/players/administrators could still be involved. 1 Rd – 16 teams…break… Div1/Div2 based on standing of 1 Rd.
Problem is when yuh mix fresh milk with stale milk …what do you end up with….??
Well done to the Super League organization. A few bumps but no progress without a little struggle. Congrats to Guaya. Hard luck Santa Rosa and good initial campaign in the top flight by UTT as well..
Congrats to Guaya
cheers Guaya…and well done SRFC..
Not a Look Loy fan, but I’m in his corner for this one. Rodphin Harris awarded a goal for Pres against St Mary’s where there was a clear push by the Pres forward on the St Mary’s goalie pushing him into the goal. The result of that “goal” was mayhem. Suspensions, sanctions, police. I hope everyone remembers that game. That footage alone should be enough for Mr Harris to resign from refereeing any sort of football. Yet here he is, influencing another very important match. The quality of our referees is very, very poor because they are not held accountable for their, at times, grave errors.
Correction: All video evidence shows the St. Marys goalkeeper going around and into his own goal with the ball in hand in an effort to avoid the advancing forward from Presentation. In so doing all of the ball crossed the goal line. It was the Assistant Referee on the near side that raised his flag to indicate that all of the ball had crossed the goal line and hence the goal awarded… Parallax error based on where you are seated would lead you and many others to the wrong conclusion….
Nigel Bailey would love to see all your video evidence pls
Yeah right guaya eh beat army 6-1.
On another note, this Carlon “Judgement” Hughes is something else. Congratulations to the Guaya team!
That truce lasted long!
Congrats Guaya United, Jameson JR Rigues and Professor Ron La! Guaya residents also deserve tremendous commendation for traveling to support their team [not only this season]! Also, I still give credit to Santa Rosa for running a close second and finally…my coach for the League – Terry Williams – 1976 Phoenix FC. Undefeated in Tobago, faced relegation but motivated his players without any finances to claim 4th spot!
Rodphin harris you really say it would be hard on Rosa today, smh but God don’t sleep remember that.
For the record, Guaya does not print money, never did! It is about prudent management, what we doing here can be done by all other clubs, we are just as any other club and we also face similar problems. Football in T&T has the potential to reach very far via the clubs, it could be very lucrative, but the problem is some of the people who are standing at the front! Sad to say! Also, if we look at the situation holistically and engage the right persons, give youth, like myself, Camara Mackenson David, etc responsibility on a national level, we could bring a different perspective, we could change the dynamics surrounding the administrative culture in T&T football, because, that could be what is needed at this point.
Lol stop blaming others for your failures. The game was there to be won. And you didnt win. Simple. Work harder and come back next year. Ive read about 8 excuses why the team lost. From ref..to no money…to work etc…smh
Jamal, you are quite correct. The coach is where the buck stops. For Keith Look Loy to try blaming everything but himself for the failings is simply unacceptable.
His attitude and behavior may well be the biggest de motivator to his players. For a man who wants to be a leader in the football fraternity of this country, he is setting a VERY POOR example for young people.
Keith you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and try to see where your team’s problem lies.
Take responsibility and stop the rage on the referees and others.
Boom bang bang!!!!! Well done Ron La Forest and the Green Army!!! Good will always prevail!!!
I waiting for the videos tomorrow lol
I have nan to say…but God doh like ugly… the only videos I want to see are videos of Guaya celebrating… other than that it’s Christmas, nobody has time with that
Lol… yuh eh see I instigating stupidness
You feel i doh kno dat? But nobody eh have time I was quite in Tobago and was jubilation in Tobago and all upon hearing the news…you feel is joke
Videos coming soon loll. Party all through the night in Guaya
Gosh i wish I was there… I called Ron I eh get de man at all… but I’ll surely speak with him tomorrow please God
Ron La Forest deserves this title, #1 coach. The man drives from Diego Martin to Guaya 4-5 times for the week, from the day he began to coach Guaya in 2013 #dedication
Great if not the greatest player of his time and based on what I heard, could possibly be the greatest player to pass thru this country to date. He’s an excellent coach not only becoz of his dedication but becoz of his passion for the sport, his drive to always “win” and his ability to motivate his troops… Ron La Forest… rated amongst the best of the best coaches in the country possibly the region… congrats boi Ron boi yuh make meh a rellllll proud friend…
It is an honor to work with the Professor
I can well imagine… congrats again man…
Congratulations Jameson JR Rigues
I think Cecile Shorty Hinds and the TTFRA should feel vindicated by what can be considered “natural justice”? ???? just thinking out loud early this morning…
Gordon Pierre where yuh? ???