Kings of Manchester
Los Perfectos 'Masters' thrill at LIME Street Football Challenge
LOS Perfectos Masters proved too experienced for their opponents and went on to win $100,000 and the title of Manchester parish champions in the LIME Street Football Challenge at Manchester High School on Sunday.
The stylish seven-man team replied strongly for a decisive 3-2 over Red Army in the final after trailing 2-0 at one stage.
They have now joined the likes of High Voltage, Rising Stars and Young Blood, who will have an opportunity to compete for the overall national championship and the grand prize of $1 million. The package also includes an all-expense paid trip to represent Jamaica in the Regional Guiness Street Football Challenge in Trinidad & Tobago in June.
In Manchester, the first round of the four-a-side competition was blessed with early morning sunshine and 35 goals as Los Perfectos Masters kicked things off with a 5-1 whipping of Valley Flames. That was followed by Ours United defeating Cobbla Stars 1-0 in a penalty shootout after both teams ended in a 2-2 stalemate; Cash FC blanked Richmond United 3-0, while Cobbla Strykers got by Ultimate 2-1 on penalties after they played to a 1-1 draw.
In other games, Square Strikers whipped Reality United 5-1, Prospect Team went down 3-0 to Red Army, Red Devils bedazzled Caledonia Strikers 4-1 and Prolific Strikers showed no mercy to MVP's with a 5-1 whipping.
The rain then joined in on the action for the second round where Los Perfectos clobbered Ours United 7-0, Cobbla Strykers clipped Cash FC 3-2, Red Army slipped past Square Strikers 2-1 and Red Devils got by Prolific Strikers 1-0.
The inclement weather continued into the semi-final and so did the goals as Los Perfectos Masters outplayed Cobbla Strykers 6-1, while Red Army proved too strong for the Red Devils edging them 2-1.
And the rains continued heading into the final, and it was Red Army who drew first blood when Damion Thompson found the net in minute number 10. The score remained the same going into the interval.
Red Army placed one hand on the cheque early in the second half, when Thompson again found the net in the 16th minute. They might have forgotten about the saying, "It's not over until the final whistle", when they became complacent and allowed Los Perfectos back into the game and the Masters stormed in with three goals. Richard Walters in the 20th, Jermaine Holmes in the 25th and Henry Knight who placed the icing on the cake in the 28th minute to take the parish title.
Holmes won the Leading Goal-scorer award, having netted nine goals throughout the day's tournament.
Richard Walters, player/coach of Los Perfectos Masters, outlined that it was a fantastic day, paying tribute particularly to the organisation of that leg of the tournament.
"We are elated about the victory, we came here just to have fun and after winning one game, our confidence kept building going into the final. We went down early, but we fought back and we are very happy," he told the Jamaica Observer.
He added: "We are going to share the winnings among each other with some preparations for the second round and just enjoy ourselves. There is a lot of talent in Jamaica and this is a great way to expose it, so we really want to thank LIME and the other sponsors."
Sponsorship Manager at LIME Stephen Miller said the all-round exciting competition is about unearthing the talent and is something that football fans can enjoy, especially in a year leading up to the World Cup.
"The support for the competition has been growing... we have been seeing some quality football and this is what it is about unearthing the talent. The momentum is building (and) we saw a great turnout in all the parishes, some exceptional football and I am looking forward to St Elizabeth," he explained.
The competition's next stop will be St Elizabeth at the St Elizabeth Technical High School and Westmoreland at the Manning's High School on April 5 and 6, respectively.