by Rudolph “Bolo” McKoy
BELIZE CITY, Sun. Oct. 29, 2023
It was championship football on Sunday afternoon at Berger Field in Belize City where the Belize Social Security Board Health & Wellness Over-40 Football Tournament showcased its 2023 final game, featuring defending champion Kulture Yabra vs Belize Defense Force Veterans. Three exciting preliminary youth games preceded the Over-40 championship match.
In the first preliminary game, Yabra U-17 defeated a Lake Selection, 4 goals to 3. Calvin Thurton scored 3 goals for Yabra, and Raymond Gentle, 1. For Lake, Zaire Martin scored 2 goals, and Jaymar Bradley, 1.
In game 2, Yabra U-10 kids defeated Leaders of Tomorrow, 2 goals to 0. Both Yabra goals were scored by the youth sensation, Kyron Martinez.
In the final preliminary game for the day, Pickstock Raiders U-10 defeated Leaders of Tomorrow, 3 goals to 0. Goal scorers were Zoaylem Jones, Rojaun Engleton, and Trevaun Murillo.
The Over-40 championship game then kicked off at 3:00 p.m. with the undefeated Over-40 Kulture Yabra vs Belize Defense Force. At the 13th minute of the first half, Christopher Gilharry scored a beautiful header to give Kulture an early 1-0 lead. Shortly afterwards, BDF scored a goal by Miguel Guerra. In the 30th minute, super striker Kevin Rowland scored to give Kulture a 2 to 1 lead. Then a few minutes later, Juan Carlos Duran scored a tremendous spot kick, into the right pigeon hole, to give Kulture a 3 to 1 lead to end the first half.
The second half was not long under way, when at the 50th minute, Juan Carlos Duran netted his second goal; then at the 63rd minute Rudolph McKoy placed a shot in the corner of the net to put Kulture up by 5 goals to 1. But, just when it looked like it was over for the army, in the 70th and 75th minutes, BDF scored 2 consecutive goals by Kendrick Martinez and Kent Noralez to bring the score to 5 goals to 3 and give BDF some momentum. But it was too little too late, because in the 82nd minute Chris Gilharry scored his second goal to seal the victory for Kulture Yabra, 6 goals to 3.
Kulture Yabra was crowned the 2023 Over-40 undefeated champion, and have now won 4 consecutive tournaments and remain undefeated in two years.
In the closing ceremony, Kulture Yabra was presented the first-place trophy, which was donated by Belize National Sports Council and Mr. Marvin Ottley, Deputy Director.
Kulture Yabra also received a check for $3,000.00 donated by Belize Social Security Board. BDF received the second-place trophy and a check for $1,000.00. The Best Goalkeeper trophy was awarded to Anthony “Willie Bo” Bernard. Most Goals-Golden Boot was awarded to Kevin Rowland, who finished the season with a league high 18 goals. The Most Valuable Player was also awarded to none other than super striker Kevin Rowland.
The organizers of the tournament, Yabra Football Club would like to thank its sponsors, Belize Social Security Board, National Sports Council, Amandala newspaper, the entire Lake community, the kids that played many games, and the fans who were tremendous.