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Marathon day for referee Cann

Referee Lionel Cann

While late performing legend James Brown claimed the title as “the hardest working man in showbusiness”, Lionel Cann could certainly be forwarded in a similar vein for his Herculean efforts on the football stage.

Cann was as much or even more so a fixture than the players among the lush fields at the National Sports Centre during the course of the Kappa Classic, officiating game after game with an abundant zeal and energy and appearing none the worse for wear even after.

Yesterday there was Cann in his role performing from first crack in the morning until the sun waned towards evening. And, as if full day tracking youngsters a fraction of his age was not enough, he finished by travelling across the city to stand as fourth official for the FA Cup semi-final match between Dandy Town and X-Roads at Goose Gosling Field.

Indeed as many retired players take to more sedate positions on the sidelines or in armchairs idly watching, the former top player in both football and cricket.

“With the Kappa Classic involving all the youth it’s just always nice to be able to give back and I look forward to doing my part at the end of the season,” said Cann after officiating one of the Under-15 Boys quarter-final matches. “You have all the youngsters out with their parents, all the camaraderie that goes on, it’s really beautiful to see and fun to be a part of that interaction.”

The event also serves as a crucial part of the training up of less experienced and aspiring refs as the larger, often more vociferous and critical crowds place the officials under more intense scrutiny than that they might encounter on a regular Saturday in the park.

“This is a good time for them to showcase their talent and to have them put under a little bit of pressure that comes from the big crowds and the attitude of players that badly want to win,” said Cann with a wry grin. “But gaining experience here bodes well for the future of all involved from the players, the officials, the volunteers and the organisers, this is a major tournament for Bermuda and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”