Dennery’s Javel Faucher scored the sole goal in the 51st minute of this year’s Blackheart Knockout Football Final to help his team defeat rivals Anse La Raye last Saturday evening at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.
Team Dennery also picked up two special awards. The award for Best Goal-keeper went to Anton Richard while the Most Valuable Award went to Sherman St. Rose.
From the moment the two teams took to the field, the energy seemed equally high as expectations, especially for the thousands of supportive fans. Both teams exhibited the skillful play for which they have become synonymous all season long. Going into the Final, it seemed both teams had what it took to win the championship.
Both Dennery and Anse La Raye had something to boast about, really.
Firstly, it was Dennery who defeated the 2016-2019 Blackheart Football Champions, Vieux Fort South, by 2-0 and in fine form in this year’s Big 8 Final at Dennery Playing Field on Sunday, September 4. In the process, Dennery walked away with the $5,000.00 winner-takes-all prize.
Conversely, it was Anse La Raye who booted Vieux Fort South from the tournament via penalty shootout at the Soufriere Stadium on Wednesday, October 19. At the end of regulation time, both teams were one goal apiece. Anse La Raye eventually won by 8-7 via a nail-biting penalty shootout.
Last Saturday’s win was Dennery’s fourth time lifting the championship trophy. Team coach, Sabbatus Hunte, said the team’s victory did not happen by chance, but through sheer determination and hard work.
“I think we did not have the preparation we wanted for this tournament,” Hunte said. “Our preparation was hindered by various extenuating circumstances, so we tried to work around them. The technical team was really a team behind the team.”
He added: “A lot of work has been done behind the scenes and we really were looking for more as it pertains to preparation. It was not ideal in the end, but what we always felt was that the players had the desire to do well, especially coming on the heels of the victory in the Big 8 Tournament. The momentum they built from there, and the interest from the community, which also came like a poisoned chalice, because the community really demanded that we win the tournament. The players stepped up to the challenge and put their best foot forward.”
According to Hunte, it’s been ten years since Dennery last won the Blackheart Knockout Football Tournament, adding that playing against Anse La Raye was no easy feat. He said Dennery will continue to nurture young talent to sustain its rich football programme and continue its winning trend.
“As for the Final, I think Anse La Raye put up a very spirited performance,” Hunte said. “As we said before, no team gets to the Final by chance. They get to the Final because they deserved to be there, and I think Anse La Raye really showed that on the day. But I think we matched them in terms of desire and enthusiasm and things went our way.”
Earlier in the evening, semifinalists La Clery and Gros Islet squared off for third place. A week prior, both teams went down to the season’s eventual finalists, but they both seemed to lift the spirits of their supporters by playing a better game last Saturday.
Gros Islet opened the scoring with a goal from Jahlil Evans in the 67th minute. But La Clery bounced back strongly, scoring two goals, both via Malik St. Prix (79th and 90th minutes respectively). Final score: La Clery 2, Gros Islet 1.
The management and team members of Blackheart Productions thank everyone who made this year’s tournament a successful one, including our sponsors, supporters, host communities, players, technical teams, security personnel, vendors, ball boys and girls, fans, Saint Lucia Football Association (SLFA), and Hon. Kenson Casimir, Minister for Youth Development and Sports.
SOURCE: Blackheart Productions. Headline photo: Great play from Dennery this season has led to the east coast squad winning their fourth Blackheart Football title.