Thirty-seven year-old former national representative Romeo Thomas of Scholars International will bare the burden of holding off the tough-charging Elite SC strikers in his role as central defender in the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) Digicel Knock-Out Cup on Ash Wednesday 25 February.
This game will be played at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex at 7:00pm after the curtain raiser between Women’s United and Future SC in the CIFA Girls Under-17 FA Cup finals scheduled for 4:30pm.
Thomas, who has donned the colours of this most successful and most feared football club on the island for over ten years, said in a recent interview that he felt confident going into this final with Elite adding that they are playing good football and are a very good team.
‘My team is not scoring and I give Elite the credit as they are scoring. Despite this we are ready for the challenge as we have been to many finals before and that is when we shine most. Defense is where I normally play and most of these players started their football career with Scholars therefore, I am familiar with their pattern of play.
‘I expect a great game but would be very comfortable with an overseas referee. He would be neutral and this would be an asset for both teams. We have a strong bench and have a well rounded team to do the rest.
‘In our last two games against Elite we drew one and won the other but this game will be different as it will be a do or die game. I am not underestimating Elite but I have a lot of confidence in my defense line. May the best team win.’
Thomas went on to appeal to the Caymanian community to come out and support the game adding that he expected the full support from West Bay as it was two teams from that area at this finals. He also commented on the great improvement he has seen since the introduction of the Premier League.
‘The Premier League has made a great improvement in football on the island. On a normal basis at this time of the competition in the senior league Scholars would have taken the lead but the competition is so tight it’s a struggle between all eight teams as they try desperately to avoid relegation.
‘It’s clear that the chemistry from the national program is spilling into the domestic league. George Town and Scholars are the targets and we find it very difficult to get runaway leads; it’s very hard. The teams with national team players on their squad have really lifted the games of the clubs.
‘A special thanks to the Ministry of Sports and Education and CIFA for providing these playing surfaces and facilities as this has also created a deference in the improvement of the games on the island.
‘Lastly I want to thank the sponsor and the referees for their hard work, their jobs are not easy and I do appreciate them,’ Thomas concluded.
Technical Director of Scholars International Antonio Smith, when asked what he thought about Thomas being part of the defense unit who has helped to make Scholars International conceded the least goals in the Premier League competition said, ‘Romeo is a small guy with a big heart , he is an intelligent and dedicated player. Romeo is a good player to play alongside, he demonstrates team spirit in every game always talking and giving valuable instructions.
‘On Ash Wednesday I expect his usual one hundred percent effort as he always gives his best in every game. His knowledge of the game is extraordinary, with Thomas in my defense line I have nothing to fear,’ Smith pointed out.
Scholars International defeated neighbours Future SC 3-1 on aggregate to have a second chance to hold this title while Elite turned back George Town FC 3-2 to take the other place.