Sun, Jul

As the saying goes in football – “goals win matches”. It is therefore no surprise that a high-scoring team such as Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive enjoyed its most successful year in the Secondary Schools Football League since 1983.
The boys in maroon got a whopping 67 goals in all competitions this season, winning the North Zone league and Intercol titles, before going on to bag its first national Intercol crown in 25 years.

In one match, a league fixture versus Trinity, “Compre” found the net 13 times. It was this level of devastation that helped them bag the zonal league crown, as at the end of the round-robbing competition they were tied on 24 points with arch-rivals Fatima. Their vastly superior goal average is what made the difference in the end.

It was an all-round team effort that saw Mucurapo win trophies, with defenders Joevin Jones, Akel Bruce, Akil Rodriguez and Joel Calliste forming a nearly impenetrable wall in front of the goalie Michael Duff, while Kenaz Williams and Stephon Jack were both breaking up opposition attacks in the midfield and getting forward to support the front men when needed.

But the unit also possessed an element no other team in the competition did, and that was that goals could come from any one of four main players.

It is not uncommon in secondary schools football to see one, maybe two players, on a team doing the bulk of the goal-poaching, but that was far from the case with “Compre”.

Dubbed the awesome foursome, Kevin Molino (21 goals), Mutar Taylor (16), Terrance Clarke (11) and Johan Peltier (12) did the business for their side all season, accounting for 60 of the team’s total goal tally. Williams, Jones, Jack and substitute Tesfa Corrigon were the other scorers.

The quartet formed one of the most menacing strike forces in SSFL history and on any given day, you could see any two or three of them scoring, if not all four.

It was therefore fitting in the Intercol final that Peltier, Taylor and Clarke were all on the score-sheet, with Molino setting up the second goal, in Mucurapo’s 3-1 triumph over Carapichaima.

Taylor, an 18-year-old Cocorite native, is in his second year as a Mucurapo player. The burly San Juan Jabloteh youth team striker showed there was no limit to his game, possessing a good first touch, speed, dribbling skills and the ability to hit the target using both feet with equal accuracy and power.

A man of few words, Taylor said that before matches he tries to visualise every scenario on the pitch and think of how best to approach it. “I try to think about everything before we get on the field like how I’m going to dribble or how I’m going to score.”

Clearly this tactic has worked wonders for him, particularly in the national Intercol quarterfinal against Arima, where he notched a hattrick.

Clarke, 19, was the man wreaking havoc on the flanks. The pint-sized winger became known for his quick feet and the multiple “crossovers” he loves to bewilder opponents with. Primarily left-footed, he showed how versatile a player he is by getting most of his goals with his right foot.

In the final, Clarke was arguably Mucurapo’s best player and got just reward for his good play when he scored a contender for “Goal of the Year” – a left-footed free-kick which dipped and swerved into the top left corner of the net from what looked like a position of no real danger.

The strike resembled those which Manchester United midfielder Christiano Ronaldo, Clarke’s favourite player, has now perfected and Carapichaima’s coach, former national player Lawrence Rondon, paid it the ultimate complement, calling it the best goal he had seen all season.

“I knew I was going to score in that match but I didn’t think it was going to be such a beauty. I feel really proud to score a goal like that and to get it in the final was even better,” said the Patna Village, Diego Martin resident. Unfortunately for “Compre” supporters, this was his last year in the schools league.

Peltier, who happens to be Taylor’s cousin, is the youngest of the bunch at 16. He has two older brothers in Lester (St Anthony’s) and Ricardo Peltier (Mucurapo) who also played in the SSFL.

Much like his fellow forwards, the youngster from Carenage loves the ball at his feet and can shoot with either foot, although he is stronger with the right. He is also a pretty decent header of the ball and can play well with his back to goal. In a league fixture against St Anthony’s, he scored with his head from a corner-kick and this, to him, was the best goal he scored this year.

In Peltier’s opinion, Mucurapo was successful not because of the outfit’s individual stars but their willingness to work together. “We worked for each other and we had players who could do their jobs. Good defenders, good passers and good finishers”.

Molino, Mucurapo’s captain, was eager to leave the school as an Intercol winner, especially after losing 2-1 to Naparima in the Big Five final, and his wish was granted.

The influential midfielder was unable to get his name on the score-sheet but he can be forgiven for having a bit of an off-day in the final, as he single-handedly got “Compre” there with a hattrick in a 3-1 win over Presentation College (San Fernando) in the penultimate round.

“It feels great to be able to say I led my team to the title because this is going down in history”, he said.

Next year, Mucurapo will be doing some team rebuilding since Clarke, Molino and few others will not be returning, but with more talented youngsters expected to make the step up to the senior team, “Compre” supporters are hoping for a lot more goals and, hopefully, another title-ladened season.