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Ball Blasterz’ Malachi Peters, left,and Cox Football Academy’s Keon De La Rosa battle for possession during the boys’ under 15 match, on Saturday July 16th 2022, at the 7vs7 Football Tournament at Speyside Recreation Grounds. The tournament was hosted by Kennya ‘Yaya’ Cordner. - PHOTO: David Reid

TRINIDAD and Tobago footballer Kennya Yaya Cordner hosted her inaugural 7V7 kids football tournament on Saturday.

The tournament attracted thirteen football clubs that competed in various age groups at the Speyside Recreation Ground.

Trinidad’s Cox Football Academy were the marque team on the day. The Palo Seco-based club, left Tobago with three titles.

In the female division, which was played on a round-robin basis, Cox’s only blemish on their undefeated resume, was a goalless draw versus Tobago Cheekers.

Cheekers, were the eventual runners-up, followed by Jewels in the third position.

Darrel Garcia’s scoring prowess, in the under 15 boys category, made him an easy choice for the most valuable player acknowledgement.

The Cox marksman netted 13 goals including three hattricks and the second-half decider versus Speyside Youth Academy, in the semi-finals, to register a 1-nil result.

The final was very competitive, as neither Cox nor fellow finalist Bethel’s Ball Blastaz could get past the opposing goalkeepers, which led to the game being decided on kicks from the penalty spot.

Cox Academy went behind after missing their first spot kick, but registered three straight conversions, to clinch the trophy with a 3-1 victory.

After the allotted 20 minutes in the boys under 13 final, the championship also went down to kicks from the penalty spot. This time, Cox Academy goalkeeper Justin Charles blanked three spot kicks from the Jaric Titans of Mt Grace.

Charles’s MVP performance earned his club a 3-1 victory.

Speyside also lost 3-1 to Cox, in the under 13 semi-finals, following two second-half goals from Donavon Drayton and a single strike from Jaylon Forbes.

Ball Blastaz coached by Downie Marcelle, were the victorious team in the under 9 and under 11 divisions, which were also contested in a round-robin format.

In an interview with Newsday, following his rewarding trip to Tobago. Dennis Cox, head coach of Cox Football Academy, was satisfied with the organisation of the competition and spoke of his reasons for playing in the competition.

He said, “We have a good relationship with Kennya, and we will support her in anything that she does. We came with 40 persons including staff, parents and players, and everyone was satisfied with the organisation and structure of the competition.”

Dennis also said that he was surprised by the level of community involvement. “I have been to tournaments all over Trinidad and Tobago and is the first time I saw a community being involved in everything.

“It was amazing to see young and elderly persons coming together and mark the five playing areas, put down tents, and like the whole village come out and support. Even though we are from Trinidad, they were supporting us like everyone else. “She really has the backing of the community.”

Did Dennis expect the success, he said “It was no surprise. We are a well-travelled team, with a long history of accomplishments, so it was expected.”

Cordner, who plays professional football in Turkey for Fenerbahce Club, expressed her views on hosting the tournament in her community.

“Where I came from it did not have that much, and there is a lot of talent out there, that is not being appreciated. So, I decided to give them something instead, everything was free.”

“The tournament was specifically for youths. I will do anything to see the young people feel loved and appreciated, and off the streets.

Cordner was a satisfied individual after the tournament and is already looking forward to next year.

“I am tired now,” she said, “but overall, I am feeling great. I had a few setbacks, but it was nice to see people come together and support. Everything worked out well. I received great feedback, so I am looking forward to next year.

Cordner thanked the office of the Chief Secretary, Tobago Glass Supplies, Radio Tambrin, her family along with Maylee Attin-Johnson and Sejoux Nelson for supportting her initiative.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday