T&T’s national beach football team captured the 4th annual Bago Beach Soccer title at the Black Rock Heritage Park Beach, Courland on Sunday. In the finals late in the day, the T&T’s Beach Warriors got past Miami Soccer Lockers 3-1.
After the goal-less first third Miami took the lead with Keshawn Joseph opening the scoring in the third minute of the second third. T&T’s goal keeper Zane Cooker was kept busy making an acrobatic save which left him on the sand with an apparent back injury.
However, he recovered to keep out the Miami strikers led by Carlos Hernandez. Coker was later named the tournament’s Best Goal-Keeper and Most Valuable Player. Chad Appoo pressed for T&T first goal but Miami’s custodian Aldo Balsano was solid in the uprights.
Lanky Rodney Nelson got the equaliser for T&T with just over one minute left in the third. Dominic Mc Dougall put T&T back in front with a beauty of a goal when he ran down the right hand side and blasted in a right foot shot in the bottom of the goal past Balsano with just over one minute left in the period. Captain Shallum Bobb sealed the victory for the local team with a long range shot midway in the final third which caught Balsano off his line and sent the hundreds of spectators in frenzy.
Present were THA Chief Secretary Orville London Secretary of Community Development and Culture Dr. Denise Tsoi-a-fatt-Angus, Secretary of Labour and Settlements Huey Cadette and Administrator in the Division of Tourism and Transportation Claire Davidson-Williams.
Former national defender Makan Hislop and Dominic Mc Dougall tormented Miami’s defence. The duo combined in attack with Hislop penetrating in the middle and Mc Dougall on the right side. Both were instrumental in the T&T qualifying for the final. Hislop ended the tournament as the top goal scorer with 11 strikes including five goals in a 6-1 triumph over Bazeland Chargers Switzerland on Saturday.
Miami’s custodian Balsano copped the best goal award for his goal in his team’s semifinal victory against Whim. The two teams met in Group A play on the opening night on Friday with T&T coming away with 3-1 win. Bobb collected the winning trophy and the US $15,000 first prize cheque from Dr. Tsoi-a-fatt-Angus. Miami walked away with US$3,000 for their efforts.
Bobb said the victory will build the confidence of his team. “We came up against a tough side and had to work hard.” The lanky player complemented his players and said more experience is need. He also praised the president of the National Beach Soccer Association Kyle Lequay. “
"He (Lequay) and several others believed in us.”
Real unity Sport Club celebrated their debut at beach football by taking third place beating Whim Sand Strikers 5-3. Skipper Anslem Paul put Real Unity ahead in the second minute of the second third. Former professional player Kerlon Ferguson evened the score with a strike in the fifth minute. final Leon Tobias got Real Unity’s third in the middle of the final third before Nigel Edmund made it four in the final two minutes of the game.
Real Unity returned home with US $2,000. The Barrackpore team had earlier beaten Whim 5-3 in Group B play on Friday. Paul was happy with his team’s third place finish. “Words can’t express. It is a real joy. A first time for us playing beach football. We didn’t train for beach soccer. We heard about the tournament and said we are coming. We did extremely well.” In the semifinals earlier in the day, T&T whipped Real Unity 7-3 while Miami dispatched Whim 6-3.
Results and Awards
T&T (3)-Miami Beach Soccer Locker (1)
Third Place Play off
Real Unity Sports Club (5)-Whim Sand Strikers (3)
T&T (7)- Real Unity (3)
Miami (6)-Whim (3)
Best Goal-Aldo Balsano (Miami Soccer Locker)
Best Goal keeper-Zane Coker (T&T)
Most Goal-Makan Hislop (T&T)-11 goals
MVP-Zane Coker (T&T)