X-Roads aim to continue good work off the field
Having secured their place in the Premier Division on the final match day, X-Roads is focused on maintaining a positive presence in their community, a point made by their top official, who noted that this was just as important to the club as winning games on the football field.
The club, which was promoted for the first time in 2017-18, defied the odds to hold on to their Premier Division status after being in a relegation fight all season.
It looked all over for them when they were thrashed 11-1 by PHC on March 9 in one of the biggest losses of the season but four straight wins against St George’s, Devonshire Colts, Robin Hood and Somerset enabled X-Roads Warriors to finish six points ahead of Colts in the fight to avoid the last relegation spot.
“Even though we’ve been down in terms of the standings, we’ve never been out, never,” said Saleem Talbot, the X-Roads president after Sunday’s come-from-behind 3-1 win over Somerset Trojans.
“We had no doubt about our survival, but the bottom line is we did what some people thought was impossible to do today, and the past three games.
“We deserve to be here, and I’m glad we stayed here because that’s where we belong, in the Premier Division. I’m just glad that we won the game in the commanding style that we did.
“I think we controlled the game. We have a good coaching staff and we invite any player who wants to be in a good organisation and play good football to come and play with us because X-Roads is beyond football. We exude peace, that’s who we are.”
The club was penalised for showing community spirit back in December when they postponed their December 19 match with Devonshire Cougars out of respect for the St George’s community following the murder of St George’s player Osagi Bascome. Despite appealing the decision to award a forfeited win to Cougars, the result was not changed by the BFA.
Talbot and his two sons, Saleem and Khomeini, who are X-Roads coaches, know personally of the heartache of tragedy in the community, as his son Uthmani was killed in a cycle accident in December 2013 at age 24. He was a former Berkeley Institute head boy.
“From the very beginning we tried to bring peace to the society, not just in football,” Talbot said. “Football is an aggressive sport, everybody knows that.
“We want peaceful relationships among the players and them being exemplary in the community. This is all part of the programme, we practice peace among the players.”
Tyman Daniels, who scored the second X-Roads goals, was a player who came through the X-Roads programme, just like the club is doing with other youngsters who were at Garrison Field supporting the team on Sunday.
“Tyman has been with us from the very beginning, in fact he and Uthmani were best friends,” Talbot revealed. “In fact Tyman has a newborn son and he named him Uthmani in his memory.
“It was special to see him score that goal, a great goal. He’s a good player and deserved that one.”
Another X-Roads player, right back Larry Simmons was also in the news for an exceptional deed in December 2020 when he saved a woman, Jessica Atcheson, from a sinking car in Dockyard.
Simmons became the first Bermudian to win an international bravery award from a global service organisation earlier this year when he was awarded the Robert P Connelly Medal of Heroism by Kiwanis International.
“We rally in that type of spirit because that’s what it’s all about,” Talbot said.
“With all this gun violence that has been taking place, who is bringing a solution to the problem? It is our problem, that’s why we have to solve it.
“These youth are not bad, some of the parenting is very bad and that’s what the problem is. The families have to take account for what is taking place, but I’m saying we can solve this.
“We have to sit down and talk with our families. That’s where the solutions are, not somewhere else. We have to show that good and truth can overcome evil.”
Talbot says the BFA’s One Team initiative to encourage peace in the community has to be more than about photo opportunities, with some real solutions needed.
“We’re serious about trying to improve this society and that’s exactly what we intend to do, through football but through the families that we interact with,” Talbot said of the X-Roads approach.
“We don’t have any issues with anybody, these are our brothers. We have to respect each other.”
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