The last thing Valour FC coach Rob Gale and midfielder Daryl Fordyce wanted to talk about was football after their side jumped to third place in the CPL’s Island Games standings with a 2-1 win over FC Edmontonon Saturday.
“There’s a lot of emotion – it’s an emotional week,” Gale said.
Masta Kacher’s brilliant late winner effectively eliminated the Eddies from 2020 CPL contention, a result that also gave FCE cach Jeff Paulus much to lament after a week that saw former club captain Chris Kooy tragically pass away and a CPL-wide Black Lives Matter showing of solidarity.
Gale wore two armbands during Saturday’s match; one for Kooy and one for the hundreds of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Manitoba.
“You have to educate yourself,” Gale said, adding he had a conversation with an indigenous leader in Winnipeg on Friday afternoon.
“In Manitoba, we can’t turn our back to this. At this time when the Jets aren’t playing, the Bombers aren’t playing…. We know we have a platform.
“Chris Kooy…. the boys in Edmonton did him proud today. I know that loss has affected them, I have so much respect for Jeff and those guys. They really went after us after we went down. Credit to them.”
There wasn’t much to choose between the two sides in the first half. A Raphael Ohin’s 25-yard blast marked the best chance before a controversial penalty call sent Valour newcomer Daryl Fordyce to the spot in the second half. He eventually converted his chance after finishing a rebound past goalkeeper Connor James.
“I was very nervous taking the penalty, to be honest,” Fordyce said about scoring against his former club. “My teammates know what it meant for me and my family.
“You have to win in this business and that’s what we’ve done.”
Gale credited Paulus for the intel on Fordyce’s ability from the spot.
“Actually, Jeff gave us the idea he said Fordyce never misses a penalty,” Gale said with a laugh. “That was a great scouting report.”
Valour featured a new-look attack, with Fraser Aird sitting out due to injury. Kacher’s goal showed the club’s “next man up” mentality, according to Gale.
“Dylan Carreiro was excellent when he came on at half, Fordyce gets the goal, Masta Kacher with a brilliant goal. That’s how important unity is to this group. They are an awesome group that shows respect both on and off the pitch,” Gale offered.
Gale said the side was nearing full fitness, with sidelined left backs Brett Levis and Arnold Moutou nearing a return. Other injuries to Chakib Hocine and Jose Galan – who wore the captain’s armband Saturday – are also clearing up.
Moving on from an emotional week, Valour faces a two-match sprint for a spot in the second round at The Island Games.
“We needed the win, we’re absolutely delighted, but I’d like to spare a thought to the Eddies and their fans,” Gale said. “It’s difficult emotionally being away from your families and I feel bad for Jeff because he’s digging and doing his part.
“I’m sad I had to do that to their fans but that’s the other side of football.”