Central Roviana football team has been crowned the 2016 Western cup football tournament champions after facing off and winning 2-0 to a very strong Southeast Vella team on Thursday at Gizo’s John. F. Kennedy stadium.
Wearing their newly received uniform in black and gold they stormed the field against an all red Vella securing their lead in the game only a few minutes into the first half with a free kick sent into the air by Abraham Maezama and meeting Micheal Sira’s header into the goal.
The determined southeast Vella team did not give up easily having broken through the Roviana defense a number of times, but not managing to get the ball into the net.
With the match looking to only be a score difference by the end of the first half, it was the second half that brought an intense game to the field after both teams had time to rest and re-evaluate their strategy.
Entering the second half with a faster game play and displaying a fight for the title not seen for a long time in the western province, players from both sides threw themselves at every opportunity to save the ball from crossing over to their side.
But shortly into the second half after kicking another free kick, Maezama placed the ball to a header which did not find the net but was caught by Berry Higava who made a direct shot to lift central Roviana into the final 2-0 lead.
As the match went on, southeast Vella continued to make direct attacks at the Roviana goal keeper but was not able to complete the attacks with a score, and when the referee blew the final whistle the crowed ran into the field in celebration of central’s win.
Though they felt the loss, the Vella team was later cheered on by supporters of both teams congratulating them for a well played game and displaying the reason why they were the ones who made it to the final match.
Central Roviana team captain Alick Wickham said he was thankful for the success his team was able to reach and congratulated his team mates in working together through the difficult time to finally see the result from the hard work.
Head coach and former national soccer star Donald Bennet went on to thank those who have supported the team, the national member of parliament as well as prominent members of the Roviana communities who helped in making the tournament a success.
Bennet continued to say that creating a team for such a tournament like the western cup is never an easy responsibility.
He said bringing together young players from different areas is not so simple when you are expected to mould them into one body team. This was not his first time coaching such a team and it has not gotten any easier for him and his officials.
Overall he was grateful to his players for their discipline and determination to see the tournament trough to the final and bringing the trophy back home.
Donald Bennet congratulated southeast Vella for putting up a good fight in the match and thanked them for the good game.
Meanwhile in the losers final, the former cup holders (2009) Central West Rannongga claimed the 3rd spot in the Western Cup 2016.
They defeated West Gizo 3-0.
By Terence Ziru