As the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc. continues its preparation for the Olympic Games qualifiers in 2018, an under 22 tournament has been launched in an effort to provide greater playing time to the footballers of that age group and also in an effort to provide national scouts with a final opportunity to identify useful talent. The tournament began in August and has run seamlessly for approximately two months. The participating districts were put into 4 groups according to their geographical demarcation where games were played in a round robin format. The top two emerging teams from each group made the quarter finals; a knockout stage which was played out over the weekend.
The winners of group A Gros Islet were challenged by Dennery who were the runners up from group C. Gros Islet were able to walk away with a seemingly easy victory as they overcame their rivals by 2 goals to nil. The guys from the north of island seemed to have out crafted their opponents using very tricky tactical play to which Dennery had no response. From the commencement of the encounter, right till the end, Gros Islet put on an excellent display of poise and dominance to comfortably sit in the semi-final.
Vieux Fort South, the winners of last year’s national under 21 championship was also in quarter final action against Canaries. The men from Vieux Fort have relied heavily on their quick attacking play for their show of supremacy on the national scene over the last year. However, they faced a familiar but still very disturbing challenge in Anse La Raye over the weekend. The heavy rains and excess water on the pitch made it very difficult for them to flaunt their usual style of play. However the defending champs still managed to overcome the adversity and put one goal past the Canaries custodian. That one goal was suffice to see Vieux Fort South through the uncomfortable conditions and into the semi-final round where they will come toe to toe with another giant of youth football, Gros Islet.
Quarter Final games were also contested in the Mabouya Valley. Although the host were eliminated from the group stages, their facility was the stage for the game between the eastern group toppers Micoud and the northern runner up Babourneau. It took a free kick from the top draw to separate these two as the left back from the team Micoud scored the only goal of the encounter to provide Micoud with a place in the semi-final.
Micoud will play Anse La Raye in the second semi-final game of the National under 22 Championship. Anse La Raye earned their spot in the semis after overcoming Vieux Fort North in an exciting encounter played on Sunday. Thanks to a wonderful spectacle of great team unity and determination, Anse La Raye were able to see off their opponents by 2 goals to nil.
The semi-final games will be contested on Wednesday the 4th and Thursday the 5th of October. On Wednesday, youth football giants Gros Islet will take on title defenders Vieux Fort South while on Thursady team Micoud squares off against Anse La Raye. Both games will be played at the SAB Sporting Facility in Vigie at 4p.m.