The great Dutch maestro, Johan Cruijff, once said, ‘Football is simple but the hardest thing to play is simple football.’ Simple football was the name of the game this past Saturday as the CUC Primary Football League semifinals proved to be the highlight of the weekend’s sports calendar. From the thrill of victory – Prospect Primary’s goalkeeper Shakur Welcome saving a penalty in sudden death, to the agony of defeat – Grace Wesleyan’s talented Cline Glidden Jr. shedding a tear after his team tasted a painful defeat. This was the PFL semifinals… winners advance, losers go home. No draws and no second chances. The large crowd that filtered through the Annex gates were thoroughly entertained with nail-biting finishes, fantastic goals and heart-stopping saves.
First up was St. Ignatius Prep versus Triple C and Truth For Youth playing Red Bay Primary for a place in the U-9 Consolation Cup final. St. Ignatius Prep got the all-important goal as they defeated the Crusaders 1-0 and Red Bay Primary outlasted the youngsters from Truth For Youth 3-0.
In the U-9 Champions Cup, reigning champions John A. Cumber Primary defeated a feisty Savannah Primary 2-0 and undefeated Prospect Primary squeezed past Bodden Town Primary 1-0. The finals pit Group A winners John A. Cumber Primary against Group B winners Prospect Primary.
The U-11 Consolation Cup saw Cayman International School breeze by a determined East End Primary 5-1 and the upstart Truth For Youth outlast Grace Wesleyan 4-3 in what was certainly one of the most exciting games of the day. With the day’s heat matching the intensity on the field, the youngsters from Truth For Youth overcame a two goal deficit and snatched a thrilling victory in the dying minutes of the game. With a combined two wins all season, the quarterfinal win last weekend and this, the semifinal victory, Truth For Youth now deservedly find themselves playing for the cup, but they need to be at their best as they face a tough and talented force from Cayman International School.
The highlight of the day’s activities had to be the U-11 Champions Cup semifinal encounters which matched the four best U-11 teams, reigning champions John A. Cumber Primary and Cayman Prep, and St. Ignatius Prep and Prospect Primary. With the opportunity to play in the finals, both games were expected to be ‘barn-burners’ and sticking to plan, the teams didn’t disappoint. St. Ignatius Prep and Prospect Primary were so evenly matched that neither team could find the back of the net although the posts and crossbars were heavily abused. With the score locked at 0-0, the dreaded penalties would decide a winner. Prospect Primary finally triumphed in sudden death as the hero of the hour, Shakur Welcome, pulled off a dramatic save to end St. Ignatius’ dream of playing in the final.
The second semifinal saw the reigning U-11 champions John A. Cumber face an equally tough Cayman Prep team with standout Coilin Flynn at his best. Twice the Prepsters took the lead but John A. Cumber was equal to the task as Waldemir Jackson’s solo efforts tied the game with only a few minutes remaining in regulation. Overtime was too close to call as both teams cancelled themselves out. The crowd-pleasing penalties would again decide a winner, but this time, John A. Cumber Primary could not match their opponents as Cayman Prep triumphed 2-1.
With four finals scheduled for this Saturday, January 20, football fans Island-wide will be making their way to the Annex Field for this special day. The finals promise to be a spectacle of immense proportions. Who will lift the prestigious trophies and with it, bragging rights for the next year? You need to be there to witness ‘the powerful game’!