After an evening of exciting youth soccer in the GIFL/Guardsman Under-15 Football Festival competition organised by the Gros Islet Football League [GIFL], Lancers FC U-15 tilted the table to get past Northern United in a penalty shootout to win the title.
The competition involved five teams playing over two days, with the competitors as follows ; Northern United, GMC United, Pioneers FC, New Generation and Lancers FC. Matches were of 60 minutes duration and the teams battled it out at the Gros Islet playing field.
With the semi-final matchups out of the way, the home team took on Lancers FC as crowd favourites, despite having lost a preliminary round match against them.
Following a goalless draw in the 30-minute encounter, Lancers outshone Northern United 3-2 in the penalty tussle to collect the wining trophy.
Northern slot in the first two penalty kicks to go 2-up, then their custodian brought out two fine saves to deny Lancers. But, after missing out on the first kick, Lancers came back to score two goals. With the other shots missed at the spot and heading to the ‘sudden death’ stage, Lancers netted, while Northern missed at the spot.
GIFL President Shayne Paul said more than just another competition, the festival was used to assess the ability of some players, since some of them are in the national youth set-up.
Noting the significance of the mini-tournament, he said, “Hopefully, next year they will be back in trials for the CONCACAF U-15 tournament,” he added. “So, I think this tournament is very important for us, in terms of our youth base, so come next year we can have those players playing at this U-17 level, to prepare for the senior tournament.”
He said , in keeping within the stipulated regulations for the game , the St Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. has provided support and the GIFL looks forward to next year’s event .
The GIFL/Guardsman U-15 Football competition has been ongoing for the past six years and Paul is grateful for the continued support of the sponsors. “Kudos to Guardsman, they have really been a good supporter of the tournament …and this tournament has produced several national players. We do not want to lose that sponsor,” he said.
Paul added: “At the end of the day it is all about development …it’s all about the clubs assessing the players that are there, and hopefully they can take a page from the book in the festival and go back to the drawing board, so they can get better.”
Lancers FC coach Trevor Daniel spoke well of his young squad, stating that the players have been playing together for some time, with some also competing in the U-17 category, as well.
He said, “it was a very good competition …we kept our composure towards the latter stages of the tournament, because we were fitter than the other guys.”
Daniel added that going into the finals, after defeating Northern 2-0 in the preliminary rounds, they were confident of pulling off that victory though the home team put on a tough challenge.
He added, “All credit to Northern they played a solid game …good defensively and on the attack, but Lancers had the upper hand in the penalties.”