After a long and hard season, the WestTel Five-A-Side league at King’s Sport Centre is drawing to a close. In Division 1, the table has been set for a very impressive final between Burger King and RCC Strikers on Wednesday night at 8:30pm.
Neither team could be described as a surprise finalist, as both teams have had excellent seasons, with Burger King taking an unblemished record of 12 wins and no losses to the final. Now the question has to be whether they can overcome the final hurdle and claim lucky number 13.
Strikers did not do much worse during the season, claiming first place in their conference with 11 wins and one drawn game.
In the first of the semi-finals, contested on 6 April, Strikers, the number one team in the XGen conference, took on Coconut Joes, number three in the XGen conference, in a hard-fought encounter.
Coconut Joe’s looked good early on, piling the pressure on their more favoured rivals. However, the Strikers were not to be tamed so easily and pulled out an impressive 5-2 win to progress to the finals.
According to John Collins of Coconut Joe’s, it has been a tough season.
‘This season was by far the most challenging season Joe’s have faced to date. Overall the team had a good season and unfortunately lost out to a good side in RCC,’ he said.
In the second semi-final, Gold conference number one Burger King went up against XGen conference number two Atlantic Star in a hard-fought encounter between two stellar teams.
Atlantic Star gave good account of themselves, coming back from two goals down to draw level with five minutes remaining in the game. However, Burger King showed why they were the league leaders with a strong comeback in the final minutes to take a 5-3 victory and progress to the final.
Craig Fraser of Atlantic Star was full of praise for their opponents and harbours little doubt as to the outcome of the final.
‘We definitely played the best team we have come across all season and we expect them to go on and win it,’ he said, referring to Burger King.
The team rosters of the finalists boast almost the entire Cayman Islands squad from the five-a-side Cayman World Cup tournament contested earlier this year.
Representatives from the Honduran and Jamaican squads also make their appearance, promising an intense game of quality five-a-side play.
Burger King were knocked out in the semi-finals of the previous league competition and are keen to show that they are ready to seal the deal this time around.
Justin Pierre of Burger King is quietly confident that the team will be able to pull off a flawless season.
He said: ‘This season has been great for Burger King and we have played well in the league and finished first place. We are on par for a perfect season and are only one game away.’
Pierre was quick to give credit to the entire team for the success they have had thus far, adding that the secret to their success was that they have had ‘a lot of fun’ out there.
‘We are looking forward to the championship game and our main ambition is to win. We are confident and ready for RCC Strikers,’ said Pierre.
Strikers may be the defending league champions, but they will have to work hard to hold onto their title against their very motivated opponents.
Speaking on behalf of Strikers, Antwan Seymour said the final was certain to be a memorable night.
‘Never underestimate a Striker as he will continue to strike till the very end. The final will be a knockout match with two giants and at the buzzer the last man standing wins,’ said Seymour.
With the game promising to be intense from the kick-off to the final whistle, the fitness of the players as well as the depth of talent on each team’s bench could be the deciding factor.
The importance of the game also means that both teams will be boasting their strongest possible line-ups, so as to avoid a narrow defeat due to the absence of key players.
League organiser Ray Singh is very excited about the upcoming final.
‘The WestTel Five-A-Side football league has taken on an entity of its own, and blossomed into a full-fledged football programme catering to every level of Cayman society. This season’s Division 1 final is full of history and will definitely be one of the best championship games to date. The two teams proved themselves dominant throughout the season and on Wednesday we’re going to see who the best of the best is.’