Football: President’s Cup |25 September 2023
Foresters start on a high, winning season’s opener
Defending league champions Foresters started the new football season on a high note with a 1-0 win over inner islanders La Passe in the President’s Cup on Saturday.
La Passe were last season’s winner of the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) Cup.
Saturday’s season-opener, played on the newly-resurfaced Stad Linite pitch, was attended by Vice- President Ahmed Afif; principal secretary for Youth and Sports Ralph Jean-Louis; president of the SFF Elvis Chetty; the federation’s vice-president Dolor Ernesta; chief executive Denis Rose, among other guests.
It was an own goal by La Passe defender Archille Ernesta in the 27th minute which handed Foresters the win and the title. After attempting to head the ball out of play, Ernesta instead headed past his goalkeeper to score the match’s only goal.
Despite all the efforts on behalf of La Passe to score an equaliser, the Forêt Noire-based side managed to hold on to their slim lead to win the match 1-0.
Winners Foresters received the cup from Vice-President Afif who was representing President Wavel Ramkalawan – also the patron of Seychelles’ football – who is on overseas mission.
Speaking to Sports NATION, Foresters’ head coach Harold Hoareau said the circumstance in which they got the goal of the game is normal, but however felt that his team could have scored more.
“It was an own goal, but from three to four clear missing chances, we could have put the match to bed in the first half,” said coach Hoareau.
He noted that with a one-goal lead in the first half, they were fiercer, while they also were able to maintain a good defensive form in the second half.
“We held a tight line and remained consistent in our defense thus essentially winning our first cup of the season,” said the Foresters’ coach, who added that even with the minor issues in regards to training, including the turf and lighting facilities, they will be all out to defend their league title.
On his part, team captain Warren Mellie said it means a lot to the team and personally to win the President’s Cup.
“Our victory today is very special as we once were runners-up of the same cup and this time around we were able to win as the team worked hard in training to deliver,” said Mellie.
He further added that football has changed, and it is time for players to accept the officials’ decisions.
As for La Passe they felt that the match officials were in favour of Foresters.
Assistant coach Marius Fanchette said the team did not play at the level they are used to, and in the end the result was not good.
He added that many decisions by the officials were against them.
“For our football to progress, the officials need to get it right, as it was the errors by them which also let down the squad’s moral and dropped the level of the match,” said Fanchette.
In agreement with Fanchette, La Passe’s assistant manager Fred Moïse said the officials were biased in their decisions, favouring the Mahé side.
“There were Foresters players who deserved to be sent off after repeating fouls, but only received verbal cautions,” said Moïse, who acknowledged that they were not at their best during the match, adding that they will be setting their sight on the league title.