The Cayman Island’s most successful and most feared football club Scholars International faces the young and tough Elite SC on Ash Wednesday 25 February in the finals of the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) Digicel Knock-Out finals at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex at 7:00pm.
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.
This game will be a tough one, facing the reality of Scholars International rich history. They are known for their title-winning ways which has placed them in a class by themselves.
Scholars International was formed in 1978 and is the oldest member club in the history of CIFA. The club is celebrating its 30th year of football history in the Cayman Islands.
Three of the clubs founding members are still with the club; they are Antonio Smith, Ralph Williams and Bertram Rivers.
The Honorable Cline Glidden Jr (MLA) has been the President for the past twenty years, the Vice President is Noel Williams and the Treasurer Secretary is Armando Ebanks.
Other executive members are Colin Rowe (Goal Keeper) Nicole Ebanks, Robert Swaby, Maurice Fraser, Mario Watler and Romeo Thomas.
The club boasts a Premier League team, a First Division team, a Women’s Senior team and a Youth program with the young boys.
They are the defending champions of the CIFA FA Cup (after winning it ten times) and won the now defunct CIFA Foster’s National League last season having won that title fifteen times.
Over the years Scholars International team members have represented the national team and done exceptionally well.
The list of players who played on the National Team from Scholars International is long. This extremely dominant club has supplied a significant number of national team players with the likes of Antonio Smith, Noel Williams and George Smith to name a few.
There are currently eight players from the squad who are presently on the national team. They are Chris Douglas, Jermaine Brown, Phillip Berry, Leon Whittaker, O’Neil Taylor, Horace Nelson, Nikolai Hill and Mario Watler.
The club has made several major accomplishments such as organizing corporate bodies, registered as a non-profit organization with license from government, given over thirty years of community service with an emphasis on sports and youth, developed the Scholars Park in West Bay, staged Annual Fairs, family oriented events and annual football camps.
The clubs has also hosted Women’s International football tournaments, hosted youth tournaments and visiting football teams and university coaches.
The organizing of local sports such as football, netball, basketball and volleyball as well as Christmas giveaways to needy kids in the community of West Bay are also a permanent fixture on the commitment list of the club.
Scholars has copped the League’s title fifteen times and the FA Cup trophy ten times; making them the most feared team in the association followed by George Town and Latinos to a lesser extent.
Armando Ebanks, in a brief interview, packed praises on his team; highlighting the unity of the team and their intensions this season.
Ebanks said, ‘Scholars Camp is united and fully supporting the Premier Team. The First Division, Women’s and Youth teams, coaches and management are rallying around the Premier League team to keep them motivated.
‘Fans can expect to see a highly-motivated Scholars International Premier League performing at their peak.
‘The team is working hard with two goals in mind: perform at their best and crush their opponents. Come Ash Wednesday at Truman everyone can expect to see a lot of ball work and the fancy footwork which has been the tradition of Scholars International,’ Ebanks boasted.
Ebanks went on to appeal to the football fans to come out wearing their yellow Scholars T-shirts or other yellow shirts as a symbol of their support for the Scholars team.
The Scholars-Elite match comes on the heels of the CIFA Girls Under-17 FA Cup Finals between Women’s United and Future SC scheduled for 4:30pm the same day.