By RON FANFAIR
A four-goal blitz in extra time paced the Toronto FC Junior Academy to a 5-1 win over Italia Woodbridge Strikers in the Canadian Soccer League Reserve Division Cup championship game last Sunday in Maple.
The Juniors dominated play in extra time after the teams were tied at the end of regulation. Keith Makubuya opened the scoring for the Juniors in the first half.
“At half time, we simply re-established our game plan and the roles of specific players within that game plan,” said Academy manager and head coach, Stuart Neely. “I allowed players time to re-focus and re-energize themselves before making a few substitutions late in the game after Italia scored on a set play. Before the end of regulation, we had several chances to seal the win, but again failed to do so. Eventually, the substitutions paid off as we exploded for four goals in extra time.”
Neely said the development of the program is based on positive results like last Sunday’s victory and the club’s CSL Reserve Division league title victory attained last month.
“These come in the form of players improving individually, players moving up to the senior academy, players moving up to the first team and finally the winning of key games,” he said. “This is not about the coaches today. It is about the club and the boys and what they have made happen.”
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone has appointed former international, Daniel Koroma, as the national team’s coach. His immediate task will be to lead the country’s team to the 2011 African Nations tournament in Sudan. The first qualifier is next month in Mauritania.
The country has been without a coach since Ahmed Kanu’s contract expired a year ago after Sierra Leone failed to reach the final round of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
Koroma’s appointment comes as a surprise as he had announced his retirement from coaching in February, citing health reasons.
He says, however, his health has improved and he’s ready to return to coaching.
“I think my health has improved a lot and that’s why I have accepted the offer to serve my country as coach,” he said. “I will never return to club coaching again, but I will accept the offer to coach our national sides. I like the challenge that has been given to me and it’s a chance for me to prove that I am a winning coach. All I want from the country’s soccer federation is to give me free hands to play my role as coach and I will make sure I qualify the team to the African Nations Cup final.”
Koroma served briefly as Sierra Leone’s assistant coach during the 2002 World Cup qualifying tournament and he also coached the national side in last year’s West African Soccer Union Youth Championship in Nigeria.