Bodden Town claims title as footballers return to pitch

Bodden Town FC crowned CIFA Premier League champs in first competitive football matches since COVID-19 lockdown.

Bodden Town Football Club beat East End 3-0 at the Annex on Sunday to clinch the 2019/2020 Cayman Islands Football Association Premier League title in the restarted season that suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bodden Town isn’t just a football club, Bodden Town is a family team,” Bodden Town head coach Elbert McLean said. “It was the boys’ dreams to get back into the (Caribbean Football Union club championship tournament) and in order for us to do that we needed to win the league and we got the job done.”

The five Premier League matches played over the weekend were the first since March, when government’s pandemic-suppression measures forced CIFA to halt play.

“It was good to get back out on the field,” said Bodden Town assistant coach Ramon Sealy after the match. “It’s been a long break with COVID and everything.”

CIFA did not allow spectators into the stands as a precautionary measure, according to association president Alfredo Whittaker. Fans, however, stood outside the stadium’s perimeter fence and lit fireworks each time Bodden Town found the back of the net.

“It’s a great feeling to finally win this title that we’ve been working so hard for.”

After a scoreless first half, Bodden Town’s Dexter Monroe opened scoring three minutes into the second with a chip shot over the goalkeeper’s head.

Bodden Town’s Ricoh Brown then converted a free kick outside the box before Christopher Avila capped scoring with a goal in the 63rd minute off an assist from captain Karl Solomon.

“For the first 15 minutes, it is always going to be hard getting into the game but once we got into the game we build confidence,” said Solomon. “We know what we had to do and we came out here and got the job done.”

Some in the football community were uncertain if Bodden Town would finish its season after the club was temporarily suspended from league play following an incident in February when one of its players assaulted a referee.

“Even with the suspension that we had before COVID hit… the guys put in the work and came out here and got the win,” Sealy said.

Bodden Town conceded the fewest goals of any team this season, giving up five through 11 games.

“It’s a great feeling to finally win this title that we’ve been working so hard for,” said Sealy. “We were so close last year, losing on goal difference. So to come back this year and get the job done, I am very proud of the boys.”

CIFA Premier League results

Roma (3) vs North Side (0)

Future (3) vs Alliance (0) due to forfeit

Academy (1) vs Latinos (1)

George Town (2) vs Elite (1)

Scholars (3) vs Sunset (0)

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