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Some reflections on Caribbean Cup

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When the winner of the CFU Digicel Caribbean Cup is decided, the British Virgin Islands would have established their mark in regional football. It is a daunting task for them against the mighty Soca Warriors.

I don’t expect the BVI Islanders to be swamped; neither am I anticipating an avalanche of goals.{{more}}

The emergence of the BVI is testimony to the depth of Vincentian football. Eight of the BVI party have Vincentian connections. If there were to be a defender of Group E, Avondale Williams, the BVI’s captain, would be in contention.

For some, Montgomery Butler is the prime choice for the goalkeeper’s award. Both are former representatives of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Senior team. The technical staff of the Vincentian Football Federation could have turned to reserves from nearby, especially if we had overcome the Trinidad and Tobago hurdle.

Maxford Pype impressed in the BVI defense. An observer of the Digicel Group E preliminary includes Pype in an All Star team. That assessment proved ironic to me because I recalled that Pype, an ever-enthusiastic sportsman, was selected to the country’s national cricket squad, but he never made it to the final XI.

His skills in football here were confined to the haphazard team structure in North Leeward. Pype was a stalwart of North Leeward cricket and piloted that squad to the titles of the Zonal Independence Cricket Competition in its first two years.

Since his migration to the BVI, Pype has been a terror to Leewards bowlers and has lammed two centuries in the Leewards Islands competition.

Beyond the Vincentian connection with the BVI is a special Byera input. Butler and Williams are products of that North Central Windward constituency, as are Rohan Lennon, Ranelle Cain, and coach Wendell Williams.

Alex Greene and Kevin Roach add to the Vincy link, and don’t forget Venton “Fuzzy” James.

He was a recent member of Team SVG. A robust figure was already in the making, and his trademark was his powerful long shot, a percentage of which caught many a goalkeeper off guard. He has accumulated some body mass, and has reduced his flow of movements. But he proved the villain and hero of the BVI excursion.

James might have been accused of conspiracy or patriotism when his tackle led to the awarding of the penalty kick against the Vincentians.

That goal gave the Vincentians a draw, much to the dismay of the full-fledged BVI supporter.

Perhaps James was penalised for his misdemeanour and did not appear in the Cayman Islands match.

He turned up early for the Bermuda party, and the two goals he converted guaranteed to be the match winner. Of course Butler’s penalty stop was also a crucial factor.

James picked up a ball after a lapse in communication between the Bermudian goalkeeper and one of his defenders. But it was not a clear-cut matter. He beat the goalkeeper and carried the ball into an open space, and found the nets.

His second was gem. He picked up a cross from the right side. James beat his man on the inside and with the ball placed ideally on his left foot completed the shot with lethal accuracy. The goalkeeper was not anticipating such a powerful placement, and the ball was in the far right V before he could reach it.

If there was any thought of conspiracy between Vincy Heat and the BVI in their drawn encounter, the Vincentians were given a golden opportunity with the BVI triumph. And they trampled the Cayman Islanders who were perhaps entertaining thoughts of upsetting the Vincentians to secure the top spot.

But there was no inkling of match fixing. For the Vincentians were only too willing to delight fans with a resounding display. However, they did not bargain for the stout BVI defense. The Vincentians were lethargic in their first match; perhaps despondent having not qualified for the Concacaf World Cup final and not sufficiently pumped up and motivated for the affair.

The BVI squad made a lap of honour around the Arnos Vale Field after Sunday’s win, grateful to the fans that supported them during the tournament. Vincy Heat and BVI will not be crossing threads at least for the short term.

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