Ellerton is set to take nothing for granted tomorrow night when they face Weymouth Wales in the finals of the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) inaugural Capelli SuperCup.
And Head Coach Corey “Beenie Man” Barrow said they have analyzed Wales’ approach and are ready for anything the top-ranking team may bring their way.
During a recent interview, he noted 90 per cent of this team is the same team that won the David Thompson Memorial Constituency Football Classic in back-to-back championships under the St George South name.
And while they would be playing minus two key players in Rosean Brathwaite and Javon Austin, who both picked up recent injuries, Barrow has said not to count them out as yet, especially with the superb performances of goalie Jamar Brewster, who all but single-handedly won the semifinal game last weekend against the UWI Blackbirds.
“Jamar really kept us in the game last week. Wales had us under constant pressure. We conceded 11 corners and free-kicks in that first half; the most we have conceded in the Cup so far. But Jamar really came up big and had the player of the match performance,” he said.
However, Barrow said it has been a team effort so far that has gotten them to 34 goals; the highest goal haul for the tournament to date, with Shakille Belle having scored ten goals and Shaquan Clarke who stands on eight presently.
“The coaching staff has been driving home the message of never giving up and having a winning mentality. The boys from the beginning said they wanted to go straight to the Championship and win the Capelli Cup. It’s really pleasing to see that their commitment and dedication towards winning has manifested in this competition,” he added.
While admitting there was no doubt Wales was a hard opponent, Barrow said although the opposition had their strengths, they should not discredit his team.
“I give Jack his jacket. They are a very powerful attacking force, but they can be beaten on any given day. We also have our arsenal too. We’ve scored the most goals in the competition so far and not just by luck; we had the opportunities to score.
“We have our game plan in order. The management team strategized and we’ve played every game for what it is. We’ve already analyzed how we’re going to approach this game and play. The boys know they’re playing in a big competition and they’re there to win and they have the right mindset. My philosophy as a coach is that attacks win games, but defense wins championships,” he declared confidently.
Meanwhile, Wales’ manager Alphonzo Lewis said his team had no intentions of making any changes heading into the big night, and were only set on taking home the $50,000 grand prize and a handsome payday.
“The plan remains the same. We take every team and every game the same. Our approach will not change because of the opposition. We will respect them as if we were playing the BDF (Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme). Our objective is to go out there and put away our chances as they come, get the upper hand early and settle into the game; that is pretty much our game plan for every game,” he said.
With 30 goals under their boots, Kemar Headley, Ramar Millar, Ricardio Morris, Hadan Holligan, Romario Harewood, Arantees Lawrence, Riverre Williams and Walton Burrowes have been superb and helped Wales to their eight victories in the competition thus far.
“We know we have to contain Shakille Belle, he is obviously the outstanding striker in the competition thus far. We have a plan in place for him in terms of how we’re going to contain him and the objective is to dominate the midfield and ensure he doesn’t get the ball.
“The backline and midfield remain the same at this stage. We may play around with the front line as we’re still making a final decision on that in terms of which of the attackers we’re going to go with. We do have a game plan in mind for that also, but the opponent will know on the day. However, the 4-3-2-1 formation is predominantly what you will see. Right now it’s just a question of the personnel,” Lewis explained.
As for the spoils, he said the players would get a well-deserved early Christmas bonus.
“The club has already agreed that any money the club wins goes to the players. They have worked for it so that is essentially what will happen. Once we receive the cheque, it will be deposited and as soon as it is cleared, the players will get an early Christmas bonus.
“This is different in comparison to what we are normally up against, which is usually either the soldiers or Paradise. We do understand that Ellerton has a reputation in out-of-season competitions. However, this is still top-flight football; this is not the David Thompson Memorial, this is BFA Capelli Cup,” Lewis declared.
BDFSP and UWI Blackbirds are expected to do battle in the early game for the third-place finish and the $10,000 prize.