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IT TOOK a bit of luck to separate the two teams as Elijah Payne scored the lone goal directly from a corner kick to see Edinburgh 500 Police Youth Club (PYC) capture the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup with a 1-0 victory over Signal Hill PYC at the Police Barracks, St James yesterday.

Payne’s 27th minute set-piece eluded everyone including Signal Hill’s goalkeeper Kareem Warner as it entered the top left corner. Payne later admitted the goal was unintended but said the win was still a massive feat for the central community.

“I didn’t mean to score the goal. It was just a cross in. The wind most likely carried the ball,” said the 15-year-old winger, who also plays for Carapichaima East Secondary in the Secondary Schools Football League.

“It’s a very overwhelming feeling,” Payne continued. “Coming out here and doing so much work, the boys are tired as you can see, but we really tried our best.”

However, Edinburgh were clearly the more dangerous of the two teams and fans were convinced the lead would swell, but for the heroics of Warner between in the goal post, who redeemed himself a number of times, pulling off one incredible save after another, denying Edinburgh live-wire forward Terrel Brown at least two clear-cut opportunities on goal.

The match ended with the Edinburgh 500 reserves and fans running onto the pitch in jubilation.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, who launched the event a month ago, was on hand to congratulate the teams and distribute team and individual prizes.

Griffith said his intentions for the Cup were to unearth hidden football talent and to develop camaraderie among communities throughout the country.

The tournament featured players 17 years and under with 46 teams from both islands competing.

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Griffith: It brought communities closer
By Jelani Beckles (Newsday).

COMMISSIONER of Police Gary Griffith described the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup as a resounding success, saying it fulfilled what the tournament set out to do – bring communities together and discover new talent.

The Commissioner’s Cup Football tournament, which started June 30 and ended Thursday, was an Under-17 age group tournament featuring police youth clubs.

Edinburgh 500 Police Youth Club (PYC) captured the inaugural title with a narrow 1-0 win over Signal Hill PYC, at the Police Barracks in St James.

Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Griffith said he was satisfied with the inaugural competition.

Asked whether it helped build community spirit, he said, “Definitely, and I could give you a quick example. Earlier in the tournament there was a team that had a lot of guys who were more like ten or 11 years old and they were losing 11-0 to one of the better teams. That (older) team actually opened the space and let a little guy who was about three feet tall (get an attempt at goal). He scored, they lifted him up in the air and celebrated with him, and that identified exactly what the Commissioner’s Cup was about.”

Griffith said the tournament helped unite the country.

“The Commissioner’s Cup was much more than just a football tournament...this Commissioner’s Cup was to bring our two islands together. You would have noticed the top team from Trinidad played the top team from Tobago (in the final). It brought our islands closer; it brought communities closer and it brought people in the communities even closer.”

The CoP said the tournament would have taught the footballers traits they can apply to life. “Sport is an avenue that can build the character traits, not just to make you a better footballer but to make you a better man, through leadership, discipline, punctuality, tactics, uniformity. Those things will help the young persons to turn away from a life of crime.”

Griffith said he enjoyed the support from the various communities with rhythm sections and cheerleaders present at matches.

Griffith, who is hoping for an improved tournament next year, said it also allowed young talent to be recognised.

“It was also a good avenue that got a lot of these young persons to be scouted by coaches in schools, scouts from members of the Pro League...they would have seen a lot of hidden talent.”