No pun intended but it was a lively affair when The Lazarus Funeral Home Knockout Football Competition kicked off on Saturday at the Dennery Playing Field. The competition is a collaboration between the All Blacks Veterans and the Dennery Youth & Sports Council.
The opening ceremony commenced with a march past of the participating teams, followed by remarks from specially-invited guests which included District Representative for Dennery South, Edmund Estephane; Chairman of the Dennery Football Committee, James Prospere; Tournament Director, Hendricks Constable; and Managing Director of Lazarus Funeral Home, Edmund O’Brian.
During his welcoming remarks, Constable admitted at first he did have some doubts about the competition taking place. He said: “I sat and wondered how would I manage to organize it, but knowing my potential the capability of James Prospere and Steven Regis and the enthusiasm of you the footballers, I was optimistic that today would be a reality.”
Estephane, who is the District Representative, expressed his delight to be associated with the tournament. Keeping in mind International Women’s Day, before going any further he took the opportunity to “big up” all the women in St Lucia and told players to “be gracious and defend them for what they are doing in your life.”
He pointed out that “although women are not in the forefront of football, they are everywhere like the manager’s office, at your homes taking care of your uniforms and feeding you.
“Today is International Women’s Day,” said Estephane. “I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all women for what they are doing in keeping this country and our community together.”
Estephane thanked Lazarus Funeral Home for their generosity especially at this time when sponsorship is hard to come by.
The District Rep feels players have a responsibility to the sponsor, and with that in mind he was dis-appointed that some of the teams registered to participate in the tournament did not show up.
O’Brian expressed his thanks to organizers for giving Lazarus Funeral Home the opportunity to be associated with the competition. He said: “I hope this is a long relationship and it is only the beginning of good things to come. It is our way of giving back to the communities in the south.”
Following the opening ceremony, Atlantic Ballers engaged On the Rock Strikers in a friendly match, before
the featured match between the two teams from Vieux Fort-Legacy (from Vieux Fort South) and Vieux Fort North.
In a high-tempo first half both teams found it difficult to capitalize on the few chances which were created. However, 14 minutes into the second half Teddious Dornelly scored to give Vieux Fort North the lead.
Nine minutes later, Anthony Sandford scored for Legacy to draw the scores level. The matched remained deadlocked in regulation time. The game was decided in a tense penalty shootout, which resulted in 5-4 victory for Vieux Fort North.
The competition continued on Sunday with two exciting matches played before a massive crowd at the Dennery Playing Field. In the first match DCYO took on Aux Leon. In a physical encounter there were few opportunities, however, in the 23rd minute Aux Leon took the lead with a wonderful curling corner which completely deceived the DCYO custodian.
Aux Leon suppressed DCYO attempts to earn an equalizer, even after being reduced to nine men in the second half. Aux Leon defeated DCYO 1-0 to advance to the second round.
In the second match, Piton Travel Young Stars came up against Rovers in an exciting match where chances were at a premium. However, in the 26th minute, Detroy John followed up on a rebound from a free-kick to give Piton Travel Young Stars a 1-0 victory over Rovers and a place in the second round to face Aux Leon.
The tournament continues Saturday, March 15 with a double-header. From 2:00 pm, On The Rock Strikers take on Chesters and at 4:00 pm Wisdom 18 Plus play Survivals from Grande Ravine to complete the first round.