After a grand opening ceremony and march past, East Ruimveldt and Ann’s Grove Secondary Schools came up trumps when the Chico/Kashif & Shanghai Elite Next Generation Football Tournament kicked off yesterday.
In front of a small but boisterous crowd at the world famous Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) ground, Bourda, East Ruimveldt came from 1-3 down in regulation time to stun Wisburg Secondary 3-2 on penalties while Ann’s Grove drubbed Christ Church, nine goals to one.
The losses put paid to the hopes of Wisburg and Christ Church while East Ruimveldt and the East Coast-based team qualified for the quarterfinal of the 24th edition of the annual tournament which prior to this year was held for the senior ball clubs.
After Tshekedi Whitehead (ninth minute) and Jermaine Moore (25th minute) put Wisburg up two-nil with strikes inside the 18-yard box, Romel Legall pierced their defence on the stroke of half time to give East Ruimveldt a glimmer of hope.
Wisburg striker, Shaquille Frank found the back of the net seven minutes after the break to put his side up three-one but the students of East Ruimveldt continued attacking and defending and were rewarded with goals off the boots of Shemar Beaton (74th) and Nicholas Hunte (90th).
The Linden students who seemed to sleepwalk through the second half were off target in the penalty shootout and suffered a heartbreaking loss.
Doubles by Kevin Peters (25th, 65th) and Darrell Pellew (44th, 63rd) along with an own goal (77th) and strikes by Shane Simpson (45th) Jamal Blair 48th, Ocemie Griffith 76th and Daniel Francis made up the goal fest of the rampant Ann’s Grove outfit.
Christ Church’s goal keeper, Shemar Carrington had a forgettable night between the uprights while Jovanty Best scored the consolation goal (75th minute) for the overwhelmed Christ Church team.
In the quarterfinal round, East Ruimveldt will tackle St. George’s High on December 19 while Ann’s Grove will lock horns with Bladen Hall on Christmas Day.
At the opening ceremony were Minister of Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, Olato Sam, president of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Christopher Matthias and ANSA McAL’s PRO, Darshanie Yusuf who all made brief remarks.
Sam and Anthony pledged their unwavering support for the K and S Organisation on their new initiative for this year’s edition, stating that their ministries will play their roles for the development of the young ball weavers.
“It is very important for youth to be involved in sports” said Anthony. “This will be the premier football competition for all schools to compete and we at the ministry will be here with you, we can only see success in the future.”
Matthias echoed similar sentiments.
After the march past, President’s College was presented with the best dressed award.
The tournament’s action will continue on Wednesday at the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) ground with another double header. In the first game at 16:00hrs, North Georgetown Secondary will tackle Patentia Secondary, while Charlestown Secondary will take on Lodge Secondary two hours later.
Up to the semifinals, all school-aged children will be admitted free to each game.
The winner of the tournament will pocket a record $1.2M in cash of which 75% will go towards a project identified by the school.
They will also receive a trophy and 25 replicas along with the prize money.
The institutions placing second, third and fourth will each receive prize money amounting to $750,000, $500,000 and $250,000, in cash respectively.
The second and third place teams will receive trophies and 25 silver and bronze medals respectively, while the fourth place team will receive a trophy.
As customary, the grand finale will be staged on January 1 at the Providence National Stadium.