Rude welcoming to STAG Elite League for Topp XX and Victoria Kings
By Rawle Toney
Newcomers Victoria Kings and Topp XX, got a rude welcoming to the STAG Elite League, which kicked-off on Sunday (November 20) at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) Ground with a double header.
In the opening game of the six-team league, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) went on a rampage against a seemingly hapless Victoria Kings team, hammering the East Coast Demerara club 7 – 1.
Despite showing sporadic instances of what they use to be, Topp XX of Linden was no match for a young and energetic Fruta Conquerors side with the city team winning 3 – 0.
After much controversy and four of the league’s top clubs pulling out, including defending Champions Slingerz FC, the second installation of the Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) STAG Elite League got off to lukewarm start at the DCC Ground in Queenstown.
The fact that crowd was mostly made up of participating clubs, the sponsors and other invitees, tells a tale of lack of interest from the public.
Some reasoned of how competitive and attractive the league would be without the country’s top players who are split between Slingerz FC and Alpha United, as well as Pele FC.
The readiness of Victoria Kings was brought into question when they faced the Army; a team known more for their rough style of play and not their ability to tactically overpower their opposition.
Sherwyn Caesar led the Army with a hat-trick, scoring in the 78th, 87th and 90th minute while Delroy Fraser (20′), Jeffrey Pereira (23′), Olvis Mitchell (31′) and Eusie Phillips (50′) were the other goalscorers for the GDF.
Marlis Johnson’s 86th minute goal offered the only hooray for the Kings who seemed overwhelmed by the occasion.
Meanwhile, it was obvious that Fruta Conquerors’ approach to the game, fielding a bulk of their U-19 players, showed their depth and willingness to afford the next generation of their players the opportunity to compete in country’s top-flight league.
The Sampson Gilbert-coached team is known for having one of Guyana’s biggest nursery and often times brag about them having a hand in almost every club in the Elite League.
But the level of play displayed by the young Fruta Conquerors team, showed their experience and fearless approach to the opposition.
It was an unfair advantage, since the Linden team, once feared throughout Guyana, was no match for the Tucville-based club, who troubled the goal many times before Jermaine Junor scored his first of two goals in the 38th minute and then two minutes later would make it 2 – 0.
The SM Jaleel-sponsored club could’ve widen the margin of victory but would squander most of their chances. Kwamie La Fleur scored the lone second half goal as Fruta Conquerors opened with a comfortable and well deserved three points.
Conquerors will host Victoria Kings on Friday at their home ground (Tucville Ground) in the second game of another double-header from 20:00 hours, while the opening game will see Buxton United and Monnedderlust going after their three points from 18:00 hours.