Elite Sports Club finished the season with a flourish by winning the FA Cup and intend to build on that success and reclaim their spot as the premier club in the Cayman Islands.
Elite were the most powerful local team a couple of years ago, winning the Premier League title comfortably and enjoying strong cup runs.
But Bodden Town have overtaken them since and look set to dominate again next season – unless Elite recruit in all departments to fill the void left by key players moving on.
Elite technical director Greg Ebanks is upbeat over the future because his Under-23 side has just won their league easily, losing only once and drawing one in 16 games.
The best players likely to graduate to senior level include Brian Scott, top scorer Kalled Ebanks, Marco Finelli and goalkeeper Danner Taylor.
Elite beat 1-0 Roma United in a thrilling FA Cup final at the TE McField Annex and now want to improve on their fifth placing in the league.
The nucleus of the team will stay together, particularly captain Abijah Rivers, coach Greg’s sons Jedd and Jason in midfield, Jairo Sanchez and lethal striker Dwayne “Gaza” Wright who scored the FA Cup final winner, his 19th of the season. Also, midfield maestro Rene Carter may return from a year’s rollover in Honduras.
“Some of my U-23 side have good potential to get into the first team and winning the FA Cup ended our season on a high note,” Ebanks said. He went through a gamut of emotions against Roma because Sanchez was sent off early on for violent conduct, then Wright scored and 10-man Elite hung on under pressure before a dispute penalty was given to Roma in the last minute which was missed.
Abijah Rivers said: “We hadn’t had the best of seasons and really wanted the cup, trained hard for it and took full advantage of ending positively.
“Gaza’s goal really gave us a boost and we were really running on adrenaline after that.”
Rivers added that he hopes they can get some quality players next season and challenge Bodden Town for supremacy.
“We’re not used to fifth. The last four or five seasons we’ve always finished in the top two and we’re determined to show that Elite are still the No.1 team in the country.”
Wright said, “The feeling I have now is unexplainable, I am so joyful. And to know that I’m the one who scored the winning goal, I cannot explain.”
He admitted that injuries hampered his season but he is looking forward to the next campaign with Elite.