Sport

Organisers buoyed by inaugural Cage Football challenge

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 18, 2017

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It is nothing new to the world, especially parts of Europe, but it was certainly new to Jamaica's shores and organisers of the Lasco iDrade Cage Football Challenge were left encouraged by an explosive first staging.

Cage Football takes one of the best loved games on the planet and crams it into a fast-paced and in an exciting three minutes. It is designed to encourage players to play 'Total Football' assisting in skill development, and as expected, Jamaicans are attracted to the concept.

The sheer presence of the cage drew the attention of a fairly large crowd on each stop making it perfect for events, corporate entertainment or outreach in the community — a means to tackle crime and encourage camaraderie.

With all those factors in mind, Lasco's marketing manager of Beverages, Catherine Goodall, explained that plans are already afoot to deliver a more quality product going forward.

“Our objective was really to go into the communities and engage the communities and we know that sports and entertainment are the things that Jamaicans most relate to and football is basically an all day, everyday thing in Jamaica and which resonates with our tagline for iDrade 'everyday hydration for everyday heroes'.

“So we wanted to do something that really gave people that play football every day the chance to showcase their talent as an individual, so we came up with this. We are hoping that going forward we will be able to bring some of the international talent here to come and do showcases here which would entertain and encourage our aspiring players,” Goodall told the Jamaica Observer.

The action-packed game took a knockout format during its tour to parts of the island on its way to crowning a national champion and saw two players in a one-on-one situation battling out for three minutes in a seven-foot tall circular cage, which motivates players of all abilities.

The first player to register five goals or score the most goals within the three-minute regulation period would come out victorious.

If at any point in the game a player performs a 'nutmeg' or 'salad' which is to place the ball between an opponent's legs and collect on the other side before the opponent touches the ball or the ball touches the wall, then that player would automatically win, no matter what the time or the score line.

The competition came to a fitting end on Sunday inside the Mandela Park in Half-Way-Tree, where Roshede Ball of Portland took the national crown and $50,000 grand prize and one year's supply of iDrade after a 5-3 win over Kevin Kellyman in an entertaining all-Portland finale.

Kellyman secured $20,000 and a six-month supply of iDrade for his efforts.

“So far the reception has been excellent, but one of the things we learnt is that most people found out about it late, so we gave them a chance to come and enter for a chance to win spot prizes and we gave away $20,000.

“The communities really mobilised and so Ambrook Lane got a prize because they brought the most people, and there were people from August Town and other communities across the island, which really came out to support it and we are happy,” Goodall noted.

The competition was the brainchild of Donald Leyow, director of Creative Options and Sports, who pointed out that providing a more competitive arena for players to develop a variety of skills was the main reason behind the concept.

“I thought this is one way for a player to strengthen his skill base as well as to put more competition in community football. This was in the box two years ago, so we built the cage and this is basically a test run and what we witnessed here today (Sunday) was great and we appreciate iDrade coming on board,” Leyow declared.

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