Hail Compadres FC, the FA Cup winners of the Central Football Association (CFA). The central giants, formerly Giants FC sealed the coveted title by winning 4-3 from the penalty spot after the match ended 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
Strikers twice had to come from behind after Nicaya Mahon gave Compadres the advantage in the 15th minute in front a crowd of some 2000 fans, that included David John-Williams, president of the T&T Football Association, Patrice Charles, Director of Physical Education and Sport at the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs and Shymdeo Gosine, president of the CFA. And in the 58th-minute new signing, Obasi Jones found the nets to propel the central newcomers to a two-goal advantage.
Harlem Strikers, the CFA long-serving campaigners pulled a goal back in the 70th from Leroy Whyle before finding the equalizer in the 84th to send the match to a penalty shoot-out. But fortunes favoured the Compadres men, who apart from playing in the CFA for the first time, were required to change their name from Giants FC to be FIFA/CONCACAF and T&TFA compliant.
Paul David Noel, the Compadres assistant coach and the president said his players have worked really hard for the title and are deserving of it. "We had a really rough start to the season, going some eight matches without a win, as those players were not totally committed to the team. Because of this, we sought to recruit players who loved the game and wanted to win, such as striker Obasi Jones, Makaya Clarke and Kyle Fortune among others."
"Those players made the difference in the team, boosting our offence up as one of the strongest in the League. Our major concern in the final, however, was that the defence would have held firm to the Strikers' attacks, which they did," Noel explained.
The overly ambitious Compadres boss has now turned his focus on the CFA Knockout title which kicks off in December, as well as creating a family unit among his players.
"Most of the funds to run the team came from our pockets, so now we are hopeful of receiving a sponsor for the 2019 season where players can be given stipends and a means of taking care of their families. We intend to get jobs for them to keep them away from the vicious atmosphere of crime, and as the meaning of the name Compadres, help them create happy families," Noel said.
With a capacity of over 2000 supporters, the event has exceeded many of the country's top domestic and international football matches and was described as one of the better organized, high quality matches in a long time, by top football officials.
The day's activities, which featured a combination of soca and gospel music, was also used to remember a number of players from the CFA who lost their lives to crime. Clynt Taylor, the man charged with the responsibility of providing such quality events, said Sunday's scheduled third/fourth place play-off between Leeds FC and Central Soccer World, had to be called off due to the death of Mark Allard, the Leeds captain recently.
That match was replaced by a Premier Division League match between Central Soccer World (CSW) and Real Central which CSW won 3-0, courtesy a double strike by Theophilus Bourne and another from Dion Lewis.