Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The Edward Seaga Stadium will be the hub for top-flight football today and tomorrow with the staging of the semi-final round of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Jamaica Yellow Pages Jackie Bell Knockout competition.
To add more spirit to the competition, Red Stripe, title sponsor of the National Premier League, has partnered with KSAFA and Jamaica Yellow Pages to sponsor these games, and will see tomorrow's second semi-final involving Tivoli Gardens and Arnett Gardens take the form of Monday Night Football, an initiative rolled out two weeks ago in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).
Today, defending champions Harbour View will go up against long-time rivals Boys' Town at 6:30 p.m.
Also added to the package are opening matches on both days. Today's opener will see Masters taking on Celebrities at 4:30 p.m. and will feature the likes of Aidonia, Wayne Marshall, Cobra and Christopher Martin, displaying their football skills against stars of yesteryear.
On Monday, a combined Masters and Celebrities team will battle the entertainers in the 7:15 p.m. opener ahead of the 9 p.m. main event, which will be televised.
Masters and Celebrities aside, these matches should be we well worth the expenses to see. Not only do they feature the cream of football in KSAFA, but represent perhaps the only chance for some teams to win silverware. Both defending champions Harbour View and Boys' Town are sitting in the middle of the RSPL table and have not had the results to give anyone the indication that they will challenge for the title, which makes this competition that more important.
Harbour View's Donovan Hayles is very aware of this.
"This competition is very important to us," Hayles told The Sunday Gleaner. "Any silverware on offer will carry importance, and in Jamaica there are three important trophies. We have the all-island knockout competition, the RSPL and, of course, the Jamaica Yellow Pages Jackie Bell KO. For us in KSAFA, the Jackie Bell is very important and will help in the RSPL also, because once you have a title under your belt it will lift the morale of the team."
Pointing to their rivalry with Boys' Town, Hayles outlined: "There has always been a cracker between us. Whenever we meet it is very rare that we end up goalless. On a number of occasions victory has been snatched from the jaws of defeat by both teams, so fans should expect a cracker."
Harbour View, who got by Waterhouse to get to this stage, will be looking to midfield maestro and former Jamaica midfielder Jermaine Hue, fellow former national Fabian Taylor, and current national Richards Edwards to provide the platform for their victory.
Boys' Town, who defeated Cavalier in the quarter-finals, will be without Xavian Virgo, one of their top players, who had to withdraw from national camp due to a fractured bone in his right ankle.
They will have at their disposal national midfielder O'Neil Thompson, Renae Lloyd, captain Michael Campbell, Asrick Samuels, and goalkeeper Kirk Porter.
The Masters & Celebrities teams, to be managed by Clive 'Busy' Campbell, will be chosen from:
Masters: Rudolph Speid, Andrew Thomas, David Laylor, Byron Earle, Lincoln Taffe, Lenworth Hyde Sr, Raymond Smith, Denton Shedden, Mario Hackett, Mark Miller, Marvin Chin, Hugh 'Bingy' Blair, Oneil 'Chippy' McDonald, Hector Pinnock, Ken Ellis, Elvis Clarke, Robert Bailey, Livingston Scott.
Celebrities: Calvin Hunter, Audley Boyd, Glenroy Brown, Peter 'Metro' Grant, Warren Wilson, Damion Gordon, Nicholas Murray, Ian Bond, David Williams, Israel Portillio, Kippy Chin, Nick Ziadie, Dave Sicard, Tony Barnes, Phillip Riley, Andrew 'Bower' Hines, Somah Abankwah, Twin of Twins.