May Pen Primary are new Concacaf NextPlay champions


May Pen Primary are new Concacaf NextPlay champions

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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A new champion was crowned in the Jamaica leg of the Scotiabank Concacaf NextPlay Cup as May Pen Primary defeated Holland Primary 3-1 on penalties in the final, following a 1-1 draw after regulation time at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Saturday.

The final day belonged to goalkeeper Lennox Francis, who saved the first three penalty kicks from Holland Primary to lead May Pen Primary to championship honours.

May Pen Primary had earlier knocked out Holy Family Primary, who won the competition in its inaugural season in 2018.

There was a slight change to the competition's format on the final day, which was expected to feature quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. Instead, the eight teams that advanced to the final day after two Saturdays of preliminary rounds were placed in two groups of four teams each. At the end of round robin play in each group, the two group winners contested the championship match.

May Pen Primary and Holland Primary came out of their respective groups with maximum nine points.

On their way to the championship match, May Pen Primary had defeated Holy Family Primary 1-0 in the second round of matches on the day. That defeat eliminated the defending champions, who at that stage were on a point from two games, while the victory pushed May Pen Primary to an unassailable six points heading into the final set of group matches.

Captain Rowanie Rampasaud, who scored for May Pen Primary in regulation time, missed from the spot in the penalty shoot-out, while goalkeeper Lennox Francis, Devon Shaw and Ricardo LaTouche were on target for the new champions.

The Concacaf NextPlay Cup is a primary school initiative by Scotiabank and Concacaf, which uses football as a vehicle to make a positive impact on children's lives in four Concacaf Member Association countries —the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. It is confined to boys and girls aged 10-11 years old, playing on the same team.

Each country fielded 56 school teams, with 10 players, participating in 7x7 format between urban and rural regions.

It aims not only to expose the boys and girls to the game, but targets the wholesome development of the children through the primary school system in the participating countries. NextPlay takes aim critically at helping the kids in character-building and to ensure that key life values are passed on to them during their impressionable years.

Following the completion of the Jamaica leg, Yanique Forbes-Patrick, director of public affairs and communications, Scotiabank (English-speaking Caribbean), said the bank was proud of the programme.

“It has been a good programme and we are happy and proud of what we have seen, and I think we accomplished what we set out to do here today,” said Forbes Patrick.

“We had a programme that consisted of a training academy and we went and we visited the schools at the training academy and it was really good to see them, and especially the girls getting technical training in football and having fun and learning all the social skills that we hoped they would learn.

“And then we had a good day today. Did you see all the passion of football? You see the sweet taste of victory for some and others are learning to lose gracefully — and that is also important. Honestly, I think we have accomplished what we wanted to do with the programme, and we are very happy,” Forbes Patrick added.

Also on hand from Scotiabank to witness the final day were Perrin Gayle, senior vice-president, corporate and commercial banking and Sheryl Thompson, assistant manager, service and support.

Concacaf Director of Development Jason Roberts and Concacaf senior manager of One Concacaf, Howard McIntosh were among senior members of the confederation who watched the final day of the Jamaica leg.

— Dwayne Richards

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