NAPARIMA dethroned Presentation San Fernando as champions of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division, after a dramatic day of action in the final round yesterday.
Entering yesterday’s rescheduled Round 11 matches, Presentation San Fernando were on 32 points, followed by Naparima with 31 and San Juan North with 29.
Naparima, the 2015 Premier Division winners, travelled to Maraval and defeated Trinity Moka 2-0, with strikes from Nathaniel Perouse, in the 26th minute, and Jeron Pantor in the 64th.
Presentation San Fernando, the 2017 champs, also made the trip from South, to Bourg Mulatresse in Santa Cruz, to oppose San Juan North. However, that game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Isaiah Chase fired a right-footed shot, in the 57th, to put the hosts ahead, but Presentation San Fernando’s Jardel Sinclair evened the scores in the 82nd, with a close-range shot past the left of goalkeeper Emmanuel Jordan. Naparima coach Angus Eve said last evening, “We feel very honoured and very humbled. We give God all the glory for what he has continued to do in our lives, as a school body.”
He continued, “The Old Boys, the principal (Dr Michael Dowlath), the parents, the children, all the staff who has supported me tremendously throughout this trying season, and all of the teams who didn’t make this season easy for us at all, we just want to thank everybody for the contribution they would have made to the team winning this title.”
Asked about the position the Naps team faced, with the likelihood that either Presentation San Fernando or San Juan could have emerged as title-holders, Eve replied, “It wasn’t in our hands so what we (tried to) dictate was what was in our hands, and that’s winning this game.”
Midfielder Mark Ramdeen missed the latter matches this season due to national Under-20 team duties.
Eve, the ex-national men’s team midfielder and captain, noted, “Mark is a different player, but we coach a squad of players and we believe in every one of (them).
“We have guys like Isa Bramble, Decklan Marcelle and a lot of guys who could step up and do the job like Ezekiel Kesar (and) Molik (Khan),” he continued. “Mark scored some important goals for us. We always knew we were going to lose him, so we were prepared for that.”
On the opposite end of the 15-team points standings, 2018 debutants Valencia joined Fatima and Bishop’s High as the teams relegated to the Championship Division.
Heading into yesterday’s games, St Mary’s were on 12th place with 14 points, followed by Valencia with 12 points.
Ironically, the already-relegated Fatima consigned Valencia to the drop, courtesy of a 3-2 win at Valencia. St Mary’s, on the other hand, defeated Trinity East 4-2 at the St Mary’s Ground, St Clair.
Two other games were contested yesterday.
East Mucurapo beat St Anthony’s 2-0 at the Fatima Ground in Mucurapo and QRC were held to a 1-1 draw by Carapichaima East at the QRC Ground, St Clair.