Excelsior retain Ali Cole Cup
Goalkeeper Papito Smith was the hero as Excelsior High defeated Holy Trinity High School 3-2 on penalties to win the second staging of the Green and Yellow Ali Cole Cup at the Courtney Walsh Oval on Saturday.
Smith was called upon to make three saves, including the decisive one in sudden death, after both teams were level at 2-2 after the allotted four rounds. The imperious goalkeeper, who was named Most Valuable Player of the final, saved brilliantly to his left on the final spot kick, sending the Mountain View based team into raptures.
The final went the distance as it finished 1-1 in regulation. Tajae Williams opened the scoring for Excelsior, finishing off an excellent pass from close range before Holy Trinity equalised seconds before the break with a ferocious curling shot from outside the area by Shian Hanson. Both teams advanced to the final of the tournament with 1-0 wins over Camperdown High and Glenmuir High, the only ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup team that advanced to the final four.
Camperdown’s Shaqueil Bradford was named player of the tournament, while Javaughn Smith of Excelsior finished as the tournament’s top scorer with three goals.
The Ali Cole Cup, named after the late former Excelsior ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup captain Allan Cole Jr, brought together an expanded line-up of 10 teams, which included reigning daCosta Cup champions Clarendon College, 2018 Walker Cup winners Hydel High, and losing finalists from last year’s Ali Cole Cup, Vauxhall High as part of the team’s pre-season preparations for the upcoming schoolboy football season set to begin in September. The tournament also featured exhibition matches from guest teams such as Santos Football Club, Excelsior Old Boys , and Unsung Ones, which included national senior men’s team coach Theodore Whitmore.
Coach pleased with display
Excelsior Coach Everald Campbell was pleased with the win, especially since they have only been in atraining camp for a short period.
“It feels very good to win [especially because] our preparations have [started] only two weeks [ago],” he said.
“We have to strengthen them more and get them sharper, and then we will be ready for the season.”
Holy Trinity head coach, Devon Anderson was proud of his charges’ performance despite the loss.
“These are our first competitive games that we have played since [we] have been in training over a month and a half ago,” he said. “We are ahead of most teams, even the team that beat us [Excelsior] in the final. We created far more opportunities, but tough luck. We have a lot of improvements on and off the ball.”