An afternoon of enthralling football — punctuated by a single goal, and hyped by screaming fans — wrapped up the Bartica leg of the GFF-KFC Under-20 Knockout Tournament after a week of exciting matches were held at the Bartica Secondary School Ground.
With a trophy, bragging rights and the chance to represent Bartica at the national playoffs at stake, Potaro Strikers FC and Lazio FC put on a display of youthful exuberance and football quality to produce a match worthy of an Under-20 final. The encounter went both ways at a steady pace, and the fans went along, screaming ball after ball.
Beyond the half, the match was deadlocked at nil, but it took a player the quality of a Junior Jaguar — in the person of Kevin Reddy — to break the deadlock, converting from a set-play 20 yards out.
Keron Spencer faked the play, and the ensuing Reddy strike was so swift and accurate that it caught everyone flat-footed, including the Lazio goalkeeper.
Potaro Strikers walked away with a 1-nil win, and will now go on to represent the Bartica Association at the National Playoff of the competition.
The National Playoffs will be played from May 31 to June 9. For players to be considered eligible to participate, they would have had to be born on or after January 1, 1999.
At the association level, should scores remain level at end of 90 minutes of play, the match goes straight to penalty kicks; while for national playoffs, extra time will be given. Prizes for the tournament are as follows: first place, $500,000; second place, $300,000; and third place, $200,000.
Eight clubs participated in the week-long tournament at Bartica, namely: Potaro Strikers, Lazio, Beacons, Rivers View, Mil Ballers, Wolves United, Rising Stars and Agatash United.
The tournament is the Bartica leg of a national collaboration between the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the franchise holders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).