Scholars, Elite ready for Charity Shield clash

It will be a clash of two footballing titans when Scholars International and Elite SC meet in the CIFA Men’s Charity Shield on Sunday, 25 September to raise the curtains on the 2016/17 season.

The 7:00 p.m. kickoff pits Scholars, the two-time defending Premier League champions, against last season’s runner-up and FA Cup champions, Elite. It shapes up to be an exciting affair as the two clubs from West Bay play on home turf at the Ed Bush Sports Complex.

The Charity Shield is a “friendly” match but the teams are not taking each other lightly as they both see it as an opportunity to send a signal to all teams that they plan to be the big dogs in the league this year.

Scholars players participate in drills Thursday night.

Scholars players participate in drills Thursday night.

“We’re looking ahead to that game because we want to win every cup this season,” said Scholars vice-captain, Carson Fagan. “Our expectations are very high…every cup is important to Scholars right now.”

Elite captain, Wesley Robinson said his club wants to ensure they start the season on a high note. “I always tell the players I don’t put in all the hard work in training to draw or to lose. I play to win. So, we’re going to go out there and play how we trained and hopefully come out with the win,” he told as his team tuned up on Thursday night.

His head coach, Greg Ebanks, looked ahead to the fixture as one that should test his team’s mettle.

“It would be a good assessment because we’re playing against the league champions. Scholars is a team that at all times is very challenging to contest…so this will be a good test for us to measure and evaluate our potential opportunities in this league to see if we can capture a cup or do exceptionally well in the league,” Ebanks said.

Elite's players were also training at the Ed Bush Sports Complex.

Elite’s players were also training at the Ed Bush Sports Complex.

Meantime, Scholars assistant coach, Mark Beckford agreed with his players’ mindset of looking to clean-up the hardware this season, starting with the kickoff special.

“Elite was born out of Scholars. We’re two community teams. We respect Elite, they respect us and what we really want for the Charity Shield is, not so much for silverware, we’d like the public to come out and support. Whatever is collected goes to charity and Scholars is all about giving,” Beckford said.

A number of familiar faces will not be suiting up for either club, including their top scorers last season. Rolly Bodden will miss the start of the season for Scholars, while Mark Ebanks has transferred from Elite to Future. Matthew Subberan will not be wearing the light blue for Elite, as he, too, has left and will play for newly-promoted Latinos FC this season.

Admission to the game is $5. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Meals on Wheels. The Premier League season kicks off the following week. Fixtures have yet to be announced.

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