All cup finals have an element of intrigue and drama and plenty will be provided by defending champions George Town when they face Cayman Athletic on Sunday.
They meet at the TE McField Sports Centre in the FA Cup final at 7pm and the ground will be heaving to watch two of the most attractive teams in the Cayman Islands.
This cup competition was first introduced as the Schlitz Beer Cup and was donated by Jacques Scott. It was retired by Saprissa FC the title holders from 1972-1974 and has been renamed the Cayman Islands Football Association FA Cup since.
Cayman Athletic, champions of the Foster’s First Division league have had a marvellous season. Not only did they secure automatic promotion to the Premier League in dramatic fashion by beating North Side a couple of weeks ago, they saw off three Premier League teams to reach this final so can rightly be called giant killers.
Underdogs in every match, they started off by beating Future 5-1 in the preliminary round, then Roma United 4-2 and finally Tigers 5-3 in a pulsating see-saw game that went to extra time. Athletic were leading 2-0 in the first half, went behind 3-2, equalised near the end to go into extra time then found two goals to ensure they tamed the Tigers.
As champions George Town got a bye in the first round. In the quarter-finals they went through on penalties against Bodden Town after a 0-0 game.
First Division team North Side came next which also went to extra time after 1-1 in regulation time. Rampaging Justin Pierre got George Town’s winner in the 110th minute.
Coach Lee Ramoon said: “It’s good to be back in the finals again and even better as defending champions, however, it was a hard journey after playing some competitive games that could have gone either way.
“We will definitely have to play as champions to set the stage and win. It is evident that Cayman Athletic are eager and willing which has placed them in the finals, so it will be a competitive game.
“Once George Town gets themselves settled and organised, to play the way we train, we will definitely get the result we want. Even though the players are excited, we still have to regroup and focus on the challenge at hand. Nevertheless, we are ready again and looking to come away as double champions again.”
Cayman Athletic coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour simply said: “Congratulations to both teams, I am looking forward to playing against my friends.”
These two teams are from the centre of George Town which makes the rivalry even more intense. They both boast national squad players too.
George Town have had a great season. They finished second in the league to Elite and are undisputed cup kings. It’s no wonder considering Ian Lindo is GT and national team captain and his team-mates include Tex Whitelocke, Leighton ‘Rumpy’ Elliott, Junior Fisher, Pierre, Calbert ‘Akeem’ Brown, David ‘Starky’ Harding, Fabian Malcolm, Leon Whittaker, Garth Anderson and Miguel Pitta in goal who have all had a brilliant season which saw them retain the Digicel Cup.
Anxious to keep their 100 per cent record in the cup over the last two seasons, George Town will not be pushovers and although starting favourites, will not underestimate Gillie’s high achievers.
Veteran striker Gary ‘The Wizard’ Whittaker is still dangerous and the nucleus of Athletic comprises of Lorenzo Brown Staton Clarke, Dave McLaughlin, Raheem Robinson, Kyle Santamaria, Kemar Scott and Matthew Suberan.