Pacific barbecues its way into ‘play to win’ Island Games finale vs. HFX Wanderers

Pacific FC’s 2020 Canadian Premier League season is coming to an end on a mouth-watering high.

The Tridents will close their Island Games campaign on Tuesday when they face HFX Wanderers FC (8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. AT, OneSoccer).

In what could be a first in world football, coach Pa-Modou Kah spoke to the media on Monday evening about the match with the Wanderers while tending to the barbeque at the team’s hotel in Charlottetown.

“It’s been good team bonding and after this, we’ll do a quiz,” Kah said of Pacific’s plans for the evening. “The staff cheated when we did the quiz run-through, though, so we’ll have to rectify that.”

You have to admire Pacific’s run at The Island Games despite its anti-climactic ending: A poignant Black Lives Matter statement, passionate celebrations, Marco Bustos’ renaissance, and, most important, a team worthy of a top-four finish.

A side coming off a promising Year 1 in the CPL looks even more promising for the future in the eyes of the team’s group of youngsters

“We’ve been listening to players… that’s what tonight is about. Everyone needs their space and time for mental health,” said Kah, echoing a statement he made when his team visited a local beach. “When we get back home, though, definitely get some time off, and everybody deserves that. All credit to the players because they’ve handled this well.”

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Kah, speaking over the sizzling of the barbeque, said his team is prepared to spoil the party for HFX, who can clinch a berth in the 2020 CPL Finals with a draw on Tuesday.

“We can still finish third – for us, we always play to win,” Kah offered. “We want them to finish up on a high note, we truly want that. That’s what we crave. We can’t just come in and just throw the towel down. That’s not who we are as a club.”

Earlier in the day, HFX Wanderers coach Stephen Hart suggested PFC would play “one of their best games” at the Island Games on Tuesday.

The admiration is mutual, with Kah suggesting HFX’s year-over-year turnaround has been a positive for the CPL.

“They’ve been great. I think it’s great for a team at Halifax who last year was at the bottom of the table to be able to have a great tournament,” Kah said.

“It’s not about denying other people’s dreams – we still want to win. We still want to finish on a high note so that we’ve had an okay tournament. That’s what it’s about – the satisfaction of ourselves.”

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