The Home of Caribbean Football reports on the recently concluded Memorial Claude Elise international U-15 tournament held in French Guiana…
From Sunday 18th to Wednesday 21st December, six teams participated in the 16th edition of the Memorial Claude Elise international U-15 tournament held in French Guiana. The hosts were drawn with Suriname and French club Olympique de Marseille in Group A while Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyana were pitted against each other in Group B.
Two stadiums were used: Stade Municipal Dr. Edmard Lama, which hosted the 2015 CFU-UNCACF playoff first leg and Stade Georges Chaumet (formerly Stade de Baudel), which was renamed in 2014.
Four days of intense action culminated in Marseille edging Guadeloupe 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at full-time. The Gwada Boys were leading 2-0 at half-time but their French opponents staged a spirited second-half comeback.
There was little rest between matches as the fitness levels of the players were tested. Interestingly, though, the two finalists had a day’s rest between playing their games. Marseille and Guadeloupe could recharge their batteries on the 19th and that would have undoubtedly helped them.
Head of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, even made the trip to French Guiana to take in the games and speak to the media. French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique are all French overseas departments so this was a big deal.
18/12/16: French Guiana 0-1 Marseille (Group A), Martinique 0-1 Guadeloupe (Group B).
19/12/16: French Guiana 3-0 Suriname (Group A), Martinique 5-0 Guyana (Group B).
20/12/16: Marseille 1-0 Suriname (Group A), Guadeloupe 5-0 Guyana (Group B).
21/12/16: Suriname 2-1 Guyana (3rd from Group A vs 3rd from Group B), French Guiana 3-1 Martinique (2nd from Group A vs 2nd from Group B), Marseille 2-2 Guadeloupe [3-2 PK] (1st from Group A vs 1st from Group B).
So the guest team Marseille lifted the trophy, Guadeloupe finished as runners-up, the hosts took third, Martinique got fourth, Suriname took fifth and Guyana were condemned to last place having lost all three outings. Recently appointed technical director, Ian Greenwood, said that “the pitch conditions were new to the players” and “we have individual talent but our game understanding of unit roles and responsibilities is well below where it should be at this age.”
This tournament serves as preparation for next year’s CONCACAF Boys’ U-15 Championship which is likely to be played in August. The Championship was inaugurated three years ago under former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb’s reign.
By Nathan Carr