Digicel Cup excitement again

The stage is set for defending champions George Town to face former champions and rivals Scholars International in the first leg of the Cayman Islands Football Association 2010-11 Digicel Cup semi-finals this Sunday 30 January.

It kicks off at 7pm at the TE McField Sports Complex (Annex) in George Town. Roma United meet East End United at 5pm at the same venue.

The return leg is scheduled to be played on Sunday 13 February and the finals on Ash Wednesday, 9 March.

The fixtures were announced at the draw held recently at the Digicel Camana Bay office by President of CIFA Jeffrey Webb and Kristy Anderson, Marketing Executive for Digicel, under the watchful eyes of representatives of the four semifinalists.

During the first round games played last month, George Town defeated high-flying Elite 3-2, Scholars International turned back Future 2-1, and Roma United had the better of Tigers 4-3, while East End stopped Bodden Town 2-1.

The next round, however, with the calibre of football being played in the Premier League competition these games are going to be tough.

According to George Town’s skipper Ian Lindo he is quite pleased with the results of the draw.

“We wanted to face Scholars International, the bigger the game the more prepared we will be. We are preparing for a very physical and competitive game, it will be a team effort and that is what George Town is famous for; facing the tough teams at all cost.”

Meanwhile, assistant coach of Scholars International Mario Watler said: “It’s going to be a tough home and away game, and both teams have a rivalry going on for years and have always put on a good show to the football community.

“George Town had the better of us in the Charity Shield competition this season and won their first Premier League game against us, therefore, I assume they are coming into this game very confident having the advantage. We have some new players and will be stepping up the game specifically in the midfield area.

“We as coaches are preparing the team, it will be down to the team to come out on top and advance to the finals. No disrespect to the other teams but whoever wins this semi final will be in a better position to take the cup on Ash Wednesday.”

George Town have in Tex Whitelocke and Justin Pierre two of the deadliest strikers in the league and from midfield there is a wealth of talent too, including Fabian Malcolm, Lindo and Garth Anderson.

Scholars may be league champs but Elite are running away with the league with GT and Scholars chasing far behind. Scholars have some top marksmen themselves in Eric Brown and Oshane ‘Foster’ Facey and when not hampered by injury Roy Forbes.

Roma United have stepped up their game since the start of this season, East End on the other hand are struggling at the bottom of the league table, however, according to Roma’s head coach, Stephen Petgrave, his team will not be taking East End lightly this weekend.

“Roma will not be taking East End for granted in this two legged semi finals, we are playing in patches currently as the team spirit has depleted specifically in the area of discipline. We are working on it and with improvement in this area Roma will be well on their feet again.”

“East End is a physically fit unit therefore we just need to go out there and play serious football. They have indicated that they want the cup. They only have to be focused, stay injury free and do their best.”

When asked how he felt about his team facing Roma in the Digicel semis, Thiago Cunha, East End’s technical director, said: “We played against Roma twice in the Premier League competition and lost but those games were very competitive.

“We will try to set up a different strategy to surprise Roma and reach the final of the Digicel Cup. It would be very nice to meet either of these teams at the finals as the have a lot of national players playing on both teams. It will be an interesting game.”