A grudge match will ensue when the Flow Champions Cup All-Island Knockout competition is decided today at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex between title holders Tivoli Gardens and Waterhouse.
They play for the prize of $1 million and the distinction of being national knockout champions, and the game will have an added lure as Tivoli Gardens registered a 2-1 win over Waterhouse on Sunday, October 13 in Red Stripe Premier League action to cast away doubts on their chances to reclaim the title.
The teams will now enter today's final with their recent encounter firmly in mind and it is sure to add to the intensity of the final as fans could be in store for a game of vengeance.
Waterhouse managed to squeeze past pre-season favourites Harbour View with a lone strike from Romario Campbell, while Tivoli Gardens eased their way into the final with a convincing 5-0 mauling of rivals Arnett Gardens, making themselves into the favourites to regain the title, a status they have reinforced with their recent triumph over Waterhouse.
Waterhouse will most likely be without the competition's leading scorer Campbell, whose semi-final strike added to his previous tally taking him to four goals in Flow Champions Cup. Campbell is in recovery after being withdrawn from a recent game to be rushed to hospital where he was found to be suffering from complications as a result of blood clots. Coach Junior Francis, in his absence, will be looking to the likes of main man Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson and the pacy Marvin 'Mr Man' Morgan, who operates from wide areas and is a constant threat going forward. They also have the explosive talent that is Lamar 'Wonka' Nelson, who made the trip across from Arnett Gardens this season and will most likely be Campbell's replacement in terms of attacking influence.
"The team is playing good football, we are fifth in the league, but we lack some sharpness in front of goal which we are working on for the final. We lost Romario Campbell, the leading scorer in the competition through injury which is unfortunate, but we are hoping other players can step up and deliver on Monday," Francis stated.
He was also quick to shoot down the recent league defeat to Tivoli Gardens as being a sign that Tivoli are favourites to the title. "Tivoli in no way can be happy with how that game went. We played the better game and showed we were the better team. It was just a bad refereeing decision that cost us the game, and it is not a true reflection of the team."
Tivoli Gardens with coach Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey at the helm will again look to the inspirational Kaemmar 'Dada' Daley, who contributed a sublime brace in the semi-final with the pick of the two being a sultry free-kick, ingeniously tucked over the wall and into the roof of the net. Daley will look to spring the front pair of Jamoy Sibles and Rafiek Thomas, while wide-man Jameel Thompson will also chip in with his share of goal threats.
Tivoli will be the favourites going into the final, as an impressive semi-final display has defined their intentions.
"The team has been preparing for the final well and they are in high spirits and very focused on the final. We have set a few goals for the season this year and winning the Flow Champions Cup is one of those important goals to us," remarked Alvin Shaw, Tivoli Gardens assistant coach.
"We played Waterhouse last Sunday and came away with a 2-1 win but we are in no way using that as a benchmark because we are expecting an even tougher Waterhouse in the final come Monday, so we are preparing as best as possible for that challenge," Shaw continued.
Tivoli Gardens versus Waterhouse will provide quality, dynamic and high intensity football action as two of the country's top teams square
off in the Flow Champions Cup All-Island KO final.
The midfield battle promises to be epic as the likes of Hugh Howell will seek to deter and disrupt the silky smooth flowing footballer that is Daley, while Rohan Reid will have the task of slowing down the artful Morgan Jr.
With arguably the two best attacking teams on show, chances promise to be plentiful, as is the promise of goals with the imposing figure of Anderson at the ready.