Fatima College may have missed the chance to grab a double in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) premier division and national intercol competitions this year, but two of their age group teams advanced to their respective national finals after narrow victories on Saturday.
In the Form 1 (under-13) category, the Fatima youngsters emerged as the winners of the Trinidad leg of the competition as they eked out a 1-0 win over Queen’s Royal College (QRC) at the former school’s ground in Mucurapo. Fatima’s lone item came in the latter stages of the 60-minute match, as Xavier Barrow scored from just inside the QRC half with a long-range effort that caught the “Royalians” goalie off guard. Perhaps, Fatima’s under-13s were exacting some revenge for the loss suffered by their senior team in the North zone intercol semi-finals on November 16.
Fatima will play the Tobago zone winner Signal Hill Secondary in the national under-13 final at the Mucurapo venue on December 2.
In Trinidad’s under-14 final on Monday, Naparima College stormed to the national final as they got a thumping 7-1 win away to Arima North Secondary. Naparima held a 3-1 lead at the half in the 70-minute match thanks to a brace by Donovan Drayton. Arima went down to ten players in the 55th minute after Kymani Huggins was booked twice within a four-minute span. The shorthanded Arima team crumbled under the pressure as they conceded four more times in the dying stages of the game, with Naparima’s Adasa Richardson bagging a hat-trick.
Naparima will play Signal Hill in the national under-14 final on December 6.
In the under-16 competition, Fatima once again showed their ability to grind out a result as they got a slender 1-0 win over St Benedict’s College in the Trinidad final. Similar to their win in the under-13 match, Fatima left it late on their school ground as Jediah King scored the winning goal in the dying embers of the 80-minute contest. Fatima’s under-16 team includes premier division players such as Kade Collier, Tom Decle, Jonathan Mason and Caden Trestrail, the youngster whose last-ditch header clinched Fatima’s first title in the premier division era last month.
Fatima will meet Tobago winners Speyside Secondary in the national under-16 final in Tobago on December 4. Speyside won all five of their matches in league play in the Tobago zone – scoring 21 goals and conceding just one in the process.
With a senior national double now out of reach in 2023, Fatima will turn their attention to a potential double scalp in the national under-13 and under-16 competitions.