Reno, toast of Flow Champions Cup Awards

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Saturday, December 20, 2014

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WINNERS Reno FC were predictably the toast of the Flow Champions Cup Awards Ceremony held at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) headquarters in New Kingston yesterday.

Reno, former giants of local football, have enjoyed a resurgence of late, gaining promotion to the 2014-15 Premier League and winning the 2014 Flow Cup Knockout title after defeating western rivals Montego Bay United 4-3 in an enthralling final in Catherine Hall, St James, in late November.

Reno were awarded $1.5 million and the winners' trophy, while their lethal goal-poacher Craig Foster was given the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Foster's four goals in the KO tournament also handed him the trophy as top goalscorer. The 23-year-old striker took home $70,000 for the MVP award and $55,000 for the scoring feat.

Foster, who scored a treble in the final, said it is "great to be rewarded" for his scoring exploits. Dino Williams of Montego Bay also scored three times in the final, but it was Reno substitute Dwayne Blake who got the game-decider in stoppage time.

Patrick Graham, the head coach of Westmoreland-based Reno, also won a trophy and cash prize of $55,000.

Reno and Tivoli Gardens FC were the top-scoring teams in the tournament with nine goals a-piece. A total of 66 goals were scored in 25 games.

Nicole Campbell, the sponsorship manager of Columbus Communications, Flow's parent company, said it was a "very successful" Flow Champions Cup which featured "an epic final".

Despite the corporate partnership developments involving Columbus Communications, Campbell said the cable, Internet and landline company "is set to continue" its participation as "title sponsors for the Champions Cup in 2015".

The 2015 edition will be the final season of a three-year deal with the JFF and the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ).

Captain Horace Burrell, the president of the JFF, congratulated the participating teams and gave special praise to Reno and made mention of the club's significance in football development in the country.

While acknowledging Flow's continued support, the JFF boss urged increased sponsorship in local football and said the Champions Cup KO offers "an excellent way to invest".

The PFAJ chairman Edward Seaga, in giving his support to the competition, said the final was a memorable one.

"It has been a long time that I have seen a game that was as exciting and as competently played as in fact happened in the final of the competition in Montego Bay," said the 84-year-old former Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Montego Bay, the current Premier League title-holders, were given $440,000 for placing second, while Harbour View FC won $220,000 for finishing third.

Waterhouse FC, the previous champions, were not able to defend their title after failing to show for their match versus hosts Montego Bay United. Waterhouse had sought a postponement, citing that a number of their players were ill with suspected cases of the chikungunya virus. But organisers turned them down, saying the deadline for such a request had passed.

Referee Karl Tyrell, his assistants Keble Williams and Terrence McKenzie and fourth official Denton Parchment were also recognised at the ceremony.

The 2014 Flow Champions Cup KO consisted of 14 parish or confederation winners as well as the 12 Premier League teams.

The budget for the tournament, including the television production, was said to be in excess of $25 million. Flow also awarded the top-scoring team for each round with $50,000. The prize money is intended for a charity cause of their choice within their community. Clinics were also hosted by a sports psychologist to aid players in their mental preparation for games.

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