Defending champions All Saints A retained the title to walk away as winners of this year’s Scotiabank Concacaf NextPlay Cup.
The St Peter Primary School beat St Winifred’s 2-1 to walk away as victors at the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) Wildey Turf.
In the semifinal matchup, they defeated St Albans, while St Winifred’s beat Wilkie Cumberbatch to advance.
Led by Coach Barrington Yearwood, All Saints remained unbeaten throughout the group stage, before netting two goals in the finals. In the second half of the first quarter, Jiere Gibbons crossed to Giovanni Goodridge in front of the bars to bury it into the back of the net, to put them one up.
Then St Winifred’s Jacob Gollop pocketed following a free kick from the touchline to equalize.
And while All Saints scored again just as the whistle blew to signal the end of the second quarter, it was ruled null and void by the referee.
However, that did little to dampen their spirits, and Goodridge came back to deposit the winning goal from about four yards out to seal the deal for the defending champs.
Following the win, Yearwood said the NextPlay Cup was an excellent initiative put together by Scotiabank, Concacaf and the BFA.
“The trip to Chicago last year opened the eyes of the children, letting them see what sports is all about and what it can do for them. I hope the NextPlay Cup continues in Barbados,” he said.
And while there were two football teams from All Saints, A and B, the average age of the team was eight, with two girls on the winning team.
“I think St Winifred’s played a fantastic game in the finals. They forced my goalkeeper to make some great saves, but we prepared for this competition. Sports is the avenue for some of these children because in teaching what you see some of the things the children have to deal with, sports is one of the avenues they can get out of their problems,” he said.
All Saints, who are also defending champions at the Bico Primary Schools Football Competition is also looking to take that championship.
“For us, it is not all about winning; it is about the development of the children. Once we put up a good showing that is enough for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Scotiabank David Parks noted this year they introduced the Scotiabank Concacaf NextPlay Academy, which involved after school sessions where participants enhanced their skills ahead of the tournament aspect of the six-week program.
The Academy and Cup were conducted simultaneously in four territories across the Caribbean, Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, where over 2200 boys and girls, between the ages of ten to 11 from over 224 schools participated.
Additionally, Parks said as part of Scotiabank’s support for the communities, they were set to invest more than US$65,000 across the region to carry out a legacy program.
“The winning schools from all four countries will be able to enhance the sports facilities of their choice. Through this initiative, we hope to have a meaningful impact on our communities, and to promote spaces where children and youth can come together, reinforce life skills and values, and work for a better future,” he said.