BDFSP win the $20,000 Banks Cup
Jamal Chandler’s spectacular goal in the 80th minute last night earned the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) a 2-1 victory over Rendezvous in the finals of the Banks Football Cup, as well as a $20,000 first prize.
It was an enthralling final played before a massive crowd at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf. The BDFSP captain Romario Harewood who captured the most valuable player and best striker of the tournament, shook the nets early with a gem of a goal. It was in the 20th minute when that deadly right foot of Harewood was given enough room by Rendezvous’ porous defence and he took a shot that curled past custodian Kenyan Lynch.
Premier League powerhouses BDFSP definitely had a psychological advantage over Rendezvous even before referee Trevor Taylor blew the whistle to signal the start of the final. Rendezvous have been defeated twice, 4-3 and 2-0, by the soldiers so far this year in the ongoing League season.
The fact that BDFSP had a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first half must have played on their opponents’ minds. Rendezvous with a star-studded line-up that included the likes of captain Jeffrey Williams, Carl Joseph, veteran defender Wayne Sobers, Ramar Miller had their work cut out for them leading into the second half.
They needed to run hard at BDFSP from the outset and Rendezvous applied early second-half pressure that had the BDFSP chasing for ball possession. That lasted only for so long, though, as the BDFSP picked up where they left off a couple minutes later and repeatedly launched counterattacks. Rashad Jules who was later named the tournament’s best midfielder posed a threat whenever he was in possession of the ball.
However, on one attacking move, as he was about to take a shot, he was fouled heavily by Miller who picked up a yellow card. Unfortunately that was it for Jules who disappointingly had to sit out the remainder of the game due to injury and end what had been a great knockout year for him.
Tramaine Cobham came on to replace Jules and soon after Rendezvous also made a change when striker Shandel Samuel was substituted for midfielder Ramano Snagg.
Snagg coming on in place of Samuel was perhaps a good move by Rendezvous coach Randolph Cox because the exciting St Vincent and the Grenadines-born midfielder has a tendency to come on and turn the game around. Snagg had came on in the semifinal round of the competition and scored two late goals to give his team a victory over last year’s knockout kings Weymouth Wales.
However Snagg took a little while to settle in against BDFSP and it was Miller who found the equalizer in the 78th minute with a thunderous shot that went past BDFSP goalkeeper Dario Weir. Weir had been impressive throughout the game with a few good saves and would later collect the tournament’s top goalkeeper trophy.
That goal caused Rendezvous fans at the AstroTurf to erupt in celebration. At that stage BDFSP coach Asquith Howell decided to go for the kill and replaced midfielder Raheim Sargeant with striker Shaquille Boyce.
Two minutes later the unbelievable happened when Chandler from a difficult angle scored probably one of the greatest goals of his career. Chandler took on Rendezvous’ strong defence and fired away at the goal bars. The ball flew like a rocket past keeper Lynch who went to his right in an effort to make the save but failed, and perhaps would have needed a superhero cape to do so. That goal brought an eruption of excitement from the BDFSP’s fans.
Coming on late into the second half Rendezvous kept probing and searching and at that stage BDFSP built their defence like a wall with a six-man unit. Coach Howell was calm as a cucumber on the sideline.
Among the defenders was best defender of the competition Ricardo Morris, Baggio Harewood, the younger brother of Romario, Akeene Browne and Kemar Chase. Four minutes of added time were given and despite the efforts from Williams and his troops to equalize, BDFSP held firm.
Earlier in the evening the finals of the Barbados Masters football competition was also played and Pride of Gall Hill were victorious over Bombers 1-0. The ball was played down the right flank, cut inside the middle to Wesley Alleyne who took the shot and beat Bombers’ goalkeeper Cameron Small.
Meanwhile on Saturday in the third place play-off of the Banks Cup University of the West Indies Blackbirds edged out last year’s kings Weymouth Wales 3-2 in extra time.