Saturday, December 16, 2017

Leading schools form Premier League


LUCK OF THE DRAW: St Mary’s College footballer Aaron Noel, right, chooses a number during yesterday’s draw for the 14-team Premier League of the BGTT First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL). —Photo: Anisto Alves

Mark Fraser

CHAMPIONS St Augustine Senior Comprehensive, St Anthony’s College, Presentation College and Carapichaima East Secondary will all campaign in a new 14-team Premier League,  which promises to deliver  competitive football and  keen spectator interest to the 2014 BGTT First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL).  

The new season was launched yesterday at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium,  where the major innovation announced was the formation of the new division, comprising all the top schoolboy football teams in the country, except for those from Tobago. 

The competition kicks off on Wednesday, September 3, with a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.  A draw was held yesterday to determine the opening match-ups. “After 50 years, the annual general body of the League took the decision to restructure the boys under-20 group from two tier to a three tier structure,” SSFL president Anthony Creed stated at the launch. This year’s Under 20 boys competition will take place in the Premier Division, Championship Division and Senior Division. Fourteen (14)  school football teams, four from North, East and Central, respectively, and two from Central,  form the new Premier League. Tobago Zone have decided not to participate in the 2014 open competition, among their reason being transport issues.  

The Premier League will consist of each team playing one round of 13 matches. The top three Trinidad-based schools in the Premier League will then go into a Big Four,  along with the Tobago winner,  to decide the National Champion.  The last three teams in the Premier Division will be relegate to the Championship Division. 

The Premier League comprise of St Anthony’s College, East Mucurapo Secondary, St Mary’s College, Fatima College, Presentation College, Shiva Boys Hindu School, St Benedict’s College, Naparima College, Chaguanas North Secondary, Carapichaima East Secondary, Trinity College East, St Augustine Secondary, Arima North Secondary and San Juan North Secondary.

“As it is now there are easy team in this League,” stated Michael Grayson, coach of 2013 champions  St Augustine Secondary Schools. “Playing in the zone you were sure about getting points against some of the weaker teams. Not in this Premier League. So, it is going to be tough.”

St Anthony’s College coach, Nigel Grosvenor,  is responsible for bringing a proposal to the SSFL to form a top division.  Grosvenor believes a Premier League is important in lifting the standard of schools football, and also the level of competition. He said that coaches are now required to have an even higher standard of preparation.