After four months of regular season play and weeks of playoff action Championship week of the WestTel Five-a-side Football League is finally here.
With the division two and division three finals upcoming many squads will look to chase glory.
The highlight of those games is arguably tonight as number one seed Bonaca Boys and number two seed Burger King square off in a battle for bragging rights as the top Five-a-side football team in the country.
Burger King, the reigning WestTel division one Champions, topped the charts in June, perfecting the game with an unbreakable 15-0 final record. They are the only team in league history to accomplish such a feat.
Once again the team found itself in the Championship trophy hunt and morale was high.
Among the excited team members is manager Gary Rutty, who feels this season could end on a magical, spotless note.
‘Last season was something to be very proud of and remember. Going undefeated is not an easy task, as we thought we could do it again.
‘We set out our goals last season to run the tables and the team did exactly that.’
Commenting on his team’s performance this season, Rutty said ‘We have had a tough season with injuries, but performance has been good. We are where we ended last year, in the finals!’
‘The team has had our injury issues, but the depth that we started the season with is now paying dividends. I think the game will be one of the most exciting games yet.
‘There will be a lot of talent and skill on both sides that people will really enjoy watching.’
In spite of Burger King’s march through the competition, many team members are hesitant to call tonight’s encounter a foregone conclusion.
Rutty went on to talk about some of the critical aspects for tonight’s game.
‘We have a lot of respect for Bonaca Boys and are really looking forward to playing them. They beat us twice this season but those games are meaningless to us and we will make up for those. We are a championship team and are used to being here.
‘We will play Burger King football and hope to control the clock and tempo of the match. Playing mistake-free will be key as the Bonaco Boys’ biggest strength comes from their ability to capitalize on their competition’s mistakes.
‘They are very fast and in sync at all times. Our two strikers, Rene Carter and Theron Wood need to press hard, shoot quickly and set an early tone.’
The Burger King side owes much of its success to its star players. Many of whom have national team experience and have played in the local football leagues.
Nevertheless team officials like Rutty point to those players needing to deliver in the clutch for Burger King to win.
‘We hope that Dion Brandon and Justin Pierre will control the mid-field and take some pressure off of John Kelly and Thomas Wood in defense.
‘From there we hope to ease any pressure off our keeper Randy Merren so that he will be able to settle in and get a feel for the game. To be successful, we will need to continue to rotate fresh legs with brothers Jason and Jedd Ebanks and Kurt Hydes.
‘We aren’t looking for individuals to step up, our team plays as a unit, therefore the unit needs to step up and deliver!’
Meanwhile Bonaca Boys, one of the better teams throughout the season, have had an overwhelming itch to prove they belonged in division one football.
The team made a big step in that regard last Monday night with an 8-0 win over Coconut Joes in the semi-finals.
Part of the reason for that drive to belong is after forfeiting a game two years ago, Bonaca was disqualified from the league.
The result is team members, like Captain Immer Carter, are eager to prove their worth.
‘I decided to try again and prove that we not only belong but that we deserve to be playing with the big boys,’ Carter said.
‘This season we are giving it everything we have. Our team is totally dedicated and committed and this is what separates us from the rest of the teams in the league.
‘We are going all out because we want to be role models and our way of proving this is to become champions.
‘We are the best and now our players want the trophy as proof.’
Though all of the team members play an important role, the efforts of Calvin Jefford, the squad’s backbone and chief playmaker, along with keeper Ronny McLaughlin, have ensured success so far.
‘Jefford keeps the momentum going in crunch time and McLaughlin makes the saves when they count,’ Carter noted.
The WestTel Five-A-Side Finals begin promptly at 7pm at King’s Sports Centre. Admission is free for all spectators.