All roads today will lead to the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora, where defending champion Chase Academy will battle Region 9 winner Annai Secondary for the ‘Holy Grail’ of junior football tournaments, the Digicel Schools Football Championships.
Although the contest was envisioned by many pundits before the start of the tournament, dramatic semi-final wins were required by both sides to clinch their appearances in today’s final.
None was more climatic than the historic 7-5 victory Annai secured over Region 7 titlist and budding foe DC Caesar Fox after trailing 0-4 in the opening 30 minutes of the contest.
Chase Academy, for their part, edged four-time national champions and six-time finalists Christianburg/Wismar 6-4 on sudden death penalty kicks after the match ended 2-2 in regulation time to clinch their third consecutive final’s appearance.
In terms of the numbers, Chase Academy possess the statistical edge in what will be the second meeting of the teams. (The holders edged Annai 2-1 in the quarterfinal round in their victorious 2016 campaign).
The Georgetown unit has tallied an astonishing 53 goals in five matches. Barring the 2-2 result with the Lindeners, the victims of their offensive onslaught included Region 1 titlist Hosororo [10-0], Morgan Learning Centre [4-2], North Georgetown [20-0] and Queenstown [17-0].
Delving deeper into the numbers, the holders scored 12 goals in their two national playoff matches. On the defensive end, the Kingston-based outfit has conceded only four goals, two of which was allowed in the playoff round.
Though they possess talented players throughout the entirety of the roster, an efficient performance will be needed by the likes of Jeremy Garrett, Nicholas McArthur, Adrian Aaron, Reshawn Ritch, Stephon Reynolds, Sese Norville, Kevin Padmore, Cecil Jackman, Ryan Hackette and Shemar Smith, if the title is to remain in Georgetown.
In the case of Annai, who will looking to for a maiden title triumph, the statistics highlight a team that is built on attacking play. Relatives Naidison, Orville and Sherrol Daniels in partnership with Vasco Cabral have scored 22 goals in four matches at a rate of 5.5 goals per contest.
Excluding their semifinal excursion, the other teams that have fallen to the might of Annai included Region 6 victor Vryman’s Erven, [5-0], St. Ignatius [2-1] and Aishalton [8-0]. Further analysis of their offensive numbers illustrate that Annai has registered 12 goals in the national playoffs at an average of six goals per match.
Defensively, the Region 9 winners must improve as they have shipped in six goals, five of which were allowed in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the third place playoff at 16:00hrs will pit Christianburg/ Wismar against traditional rival DC Caesar Fox. The contest will be the sixth meeting of the teams with the Region 10 titlist boasting an impressive 5-0 record against the Region 7 giant.
The winning team will receive $1,000,000 towards a school project and a trophy. The second, third and fourth place finishers will collect $700,000, $400,000 and $350,000 towards a school initiative and the respective accolade.