FOOTBALL action continue in the 2018 Blackheart Production/Saint Lucia Football Association Big 8 zonal qualifiers, this time for the eastern region, as the Blackheart train steamed its way to the community of Grande Riviere in Dennery on Saturday 4th August.
Despite the inclement weather associated with moisture and instability together with an upper level trough that produced showers and thunderstorms, the crowd present weathered the severe conditions as two former champions, Mabouya Valley and Micoud booked their tickets to the Big 8 scheduled for Saturday 25th August and Sunday 1st September at the Phillip Marcellin Grounds in Vieux Fort.
In the first encounter, former three times champions Dennery defeated Desruisseaux 2-0 with goals from Azard Faucher and Newton Marshall.
Match No.2. Mabouya Valley made light work of Mon Repos with goals from Nick Mondesir, Julius Louisy and Leus Alphonse to win 3-0.
Game No.3, saw two former champions Dennery and Micoud in action and for the fans present it was a revenged encounter between the two, where Micoud defeated Dennery 1-0 three years ago in the Blackheart proper.
This time around it was not at the picturesque Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, but the Grande Riviere playing field, where the results was the same 1-0 in favour of Micoud, a goal scored by Carlton Daniel.
In the final encounter played in fading light and a light drizzle to decide who would be seeded going into the Big 8, the much talked about Mabouya Valley, the finalist of the inaugural Island Coca Cola Cup, took on Micoud an encounter dubbed the double (M’s from the Eastern region).
Micoud, again, showed their worth as Carlton Daniel found the back of the net to seal the victory, 1-0 at the end of the 45 minutes of play and also eliminating Dennery out of contention.
After two rounds of qualifers the following teams booked their tickets – Vieux Fort and Laborie (Sothern Zone) Micoud and Mabouya Valley (Eastern Zone).
The remaining qualifers will see South Castries, Anse la Raye, Canaries and Roseau vying for a spot from the Western Zone on Saturday 11th at the Marigot playing field; for the Northern Zone, Central Castries, La Clery, Marchand, National Under-20 and Gros Islet will compete for the final two slots on Saturday 18th at the Marchand Grounds.
CEO of Blackheart Production, David Christopher spoke to the VOICE following Saturday’s showpiece in Grande Riviere, Dennery, and this is what he had to say. “This was the second stop on the road towards Blackheart. This is the second zonal qualifers; we have two more rounds of qualifers to play for the Big 8 to launch the tournament, on August 25th and September 1st”.
According to Christopher, “After the Big 8, the playoffs will start almost immediately and will be played simultaneously; six teams will vie for the final four spots that are available for the Blackheart top 16 which is scheduled to kick off on September 15th”.
In terms of prize money, Christopher said, “The winner of the Big 8 will take home $5000; the 2018 championship team will receive $25,000, plus $5000 for their youth developmental programme”.