By Emmerson Campbell
While Alpha United is said to be talented enough to defeat every opponent they face in the 23rd edition of the Kashif and Shanghai Football Tournament, coach Wayne Dover is more cautious, shrugging off the praise and pointing out that preparation and team work are the keys to victory.
Alpha United boasts several former and current national players, but the coach said the two-time champions will exercise caution when the tournament kicks off on Sunday at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground.
“We are very confident as a team going into these championships,” he said during an interview yesterday as his team practised at the Camptown Ground. However, he noted that “Preparation is very important…Once we get the numbers and we come out and prepare effectively I know that will speak volumes for us. Football is not played off the field but we are going to do our talking on the field.”
Dover who is also the Assistant Coach of the national football team said the team is playing for top honours and the $4 million first prize but that it would take a complete team effort to achieve this feat. “Football is played on the pitch and the team that executes the work that they have prepared to do they will win but I am confident of my team stepping up and executing the tasks we are preparing for but I would not do a lot of talking on that despite being one of the favourites,” he said.
According to the coach he will be looking for a total team effort from all 11 players, while noting that the team has some national players and the years of experience of other players. “We don’t want to single out and say that is the star and we have to rely on that individual, we will be relying on a total team effort and on the day of play all of our players should be firing on all cylinders.”
“So we hope these guys like Kayode McKinnon, Anthony Abrams who has been a prolific goal scorer for years, Dwight Peters, Quincy Madramootoo as well as Abassy McPherson who have shown over the years that they are capable of helping teams win championships play key roles for us,” he said.
Though preparations have been limited by the rainy weather, the team is maximizing their resources. “Preparations this time of year is always hampered by the rain and a lot of grounds are unavailable but fortunately for us we have a good longstanding relationship with Camptown and they have been accommodating us two days per week to prepare and we are maximizing our practices effectively,” Dover revealed.
Alpha will play its first match against Rosignol United on December 21. Dover said Rosignol has many skilful players who are focused on winning, thus his team would not be taking any chances. “We are playing against Rosignol United, a team that have showed over the years that they have a lot of quick players and players that have a passion to win and they will come and fight and that is one of the reasons we are not taking any teams for granted,” he said.
Alpha United won the Kashif and Shanghai Tournament in the 2007/2008 and the 2010/2011 seasons. Last year, the team did not defend their title but played and won the Banks/Georgetown Football Association (GFA) Tournament.