Trafalgar Southstars are the 2023 SKNFA Division 1 Champions after holding out for a 1-1 draw against Mantab at St. Mary’s Park in Cayon, enough to win the title by two points. Mantab, despite not losing a game all season, failed to get the much-needed win to lift the title and will have to play the ninth-placed Premier League team Garden Hotspurs in the relegation playoff to try and win promotion to the Federation’s top-flight domestic football.
A goalkeeping error from Mantab led to Trafalgar taking the lead against the run of play; an own goal from Shamar Cannonier (Mantab) in the 67th min. However, Mantab fought back and earned a penalty, which was converted by Sylvester Alexander in the 90th min. After the match, Trafalgar Southstars Manager Akins Philips was elated with the win, saying this was a result of handwork and the determination to earn promotion back to the Premier League.
“This was (the) mission we started out (with) and we said we were are on a mission and we had to complete the mission today. We did complete our mission today. We didn’t want a draw, we wanted to win but we got the championship and back to the premier league where we really belong,” Akins said.
For the coach of Mantab Deren Huggins, going unbeaten in the season but yet still not winning the title, is a bitter moment. “Don’t even know what to say….fellas went out and tried their best. I think it’s just poor communication because that goal is a mistake really. We tried to fight back but in the end, we tried our best,” Huggins said.
“The team feels heartbroken, to be honest. For me personally, I feel sad right now; undefeated and still ain’t win the league. The aim was to be undefeated but we were to win (the title).” President of the SKNFA Atiba Harris presented the winning trophy to Southstars in the presence of SKNFA second vice president and head of competitions Cuthbert Caines.