For the first time in the history of Blackheart Knockout Football Tournament it will be a northern affair come championship Saturday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground. That’s because Gros Islet and Babonneau prevailed in their semi-final encounters on Saturday.
Both teams booked their spots in the finals of the competition after contrasting semi final victories Saturday evening at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
Babonneau was first to book their spot in the finals with a 2-0 win over Roseau Valley. Goals from Conscious Willie in the 21st minute and Nelson Nelson in the 27th minute gave Babonneau victory and their first ever qualification for Blackheart Knockout Tournament finals.
Their achievement is remarkable given the fact they had to win a playoff encounter to qualify for the tournament. The only other team to do so was Soufriere in 2009, when they lost to Mabouya Valley in the finals of the tournament at the George Odlum Stadium.
Babonneau’s Conscious Willie was named Bizz Up player of the match.
In the second semi final, Gros Islet also booked their place in a Blackheart Knockout Tournament finals for the first time ever, after several semi final failures. They gained a one goal to nil win over former champions Mabouya Valley with the game winner coming in the 59th minute, from second half substitute striker Troy Greenidge with his first touch of the game. Greenidge is the son of former Northern United, FC Pioneers and St Lucia defender Ricardo Greenidge.
Mabouya Valley had a golden opportunity to even the score late in the second half, however Gros Islet goalkeeper Giovanni Deterville made a great save to preserve the victory.
Coach Francis “Baba” Lastic said “I feel delighted, proud and confident in my players this evening. They worked hard, showed
character and that’s what we needed from them and I am delighted we are through to the finals.”
Gros Islet got as far as the semi-finals last year before bowing out. What was the difference this year? “We have a more settled team,” said Lastic. “We showed character and I think the players are one year older and know our aim which is this year to make it all the way to the finals.”
When asked what are your chances of beating Babonneau in the finals he replied: “In a cup final anything can happen but we have a week to prepare. During that time we will assess and discuss what we did wrong and prepare for Babonneau on Saturday.
The finals of the Blackheart Knockout Football Tournament will be played Saturday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground. The Third place playoff between Mabouya Valley and Roseau valley gets underway at 5:00 pm with the finals between Gros Islet and Babonneau set for 7:00 pm.
In other news, the teams in the final four along with tournament organizers, parliamentary representatives for the two districts in the finals, sponsors and other well wishers met Tuesday evening at the Players Lounge at the Beausejour Cricket Ground for a special press conference to promote the upcoming Blackheart Knockout Football Finals.