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Tue, Oct

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Has anyone looked closely at the Seconday Schools Football League (SSFL) table after five rounds of hard fought football by these youngsters?

What stood out for me is the positions of the Tobago schools—Signal Hill and Speyside. Signal Hill are rock bottom and Speyside just three positions above them.

After both teams did well in their opening fixtures, they have lost four consecutive matches; even worse is they have lost home games.

In the past, one feared going to Tobago to play against school teams no matter what age group from Under 14, Under 16 and the senior division.

The fear was that the Tobago boys would be bigger, stronger and eager to prove they were better than their Trinidad counterparts.

Signal Hill boasts of some of the most talented footballers ever to grace the schools league, the most famous being Dwight Yorke, but tactically they were well-coached, organised and their home was like a fortress.

Tobagonian Bertille St Clair is one of the best coaches this country produced.

I remember having some real battles for Fatima with Bertille but only on few occasions we got the better of him.

Scarborough Secondary was promoted a few years ago and has gone back down; now Speyside has come up and they are struggling.

I am hoping that the executive of the SSFL, in particular President William Wallace, a man whom I have the highest regard for as he served with me as 2nd Vice President of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) from 2005 until 2009—one of the most successful periods in T&T cricket history—will keep a sharp eye on what is happening with Tobago football.

Let me make it clear that I have not seen either of those teams play and I am only going by their results but if the trend continues, they could both be heading out of the Premier division and back into the championship which would be disastrous for Tobago school football.

We need to ensure that those boys continue to get top level competition in order for them to shine through and for us to produce another Yorke one day.

I have always felt that Tobago has been neglected in all sporting disciplines.

In cricket, they have produced some excellent players but in recent years no one seems to be making a breakthrough especially at senior level and I am unsure as to the type of assistance the athletes in Tobago receive.

I hope I am not getting paranoid about the Tobago schools and it’s just a blimp in their performances, but if it continues I hope that the executive can give them the necessary help they may need. We need a strong Tobago to have a competitive SSFL.

A moment of madness

On another note, a moment of madness erupted in the game between Presentation College San Fernando and Carapichaima East Secondary last Saturday where a fight broke out between players of both teams.

I have seen players square up before as the game is emotional but when suddenly punches are thrown à la Mike Tyson and a player floored, it goes beyond passion and fight takes on a different meaning.

Kudos to young referee Kwinsi Williams and his team of officials who I thought handled the situation magnificently.

He also had to put up with two team officials running onto the field who should have been dismissed from the technical area.

He eventually correctly dismissed four players—two from either side and my only disappointment was those two officials weren’t removed.

Let us now await the ruling of the disciplinary committee to see what punishment is handed out.

I hope to never witness that again on the field of Secondary Schools football.