Relegated Shiva Boys eye SSFL return.

Shiva Boys Hindu College, the 2017 Coca-Cola InterCol champions could be returned to the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) this season and may even have the chance to defend its title.

The Penal-based school was relegated for the illegal use of players Kierron Mason and Matthew Beal last season, but its demotion is set to be challenge on the basis that the League violated its own constitution and unfairly punished the school by deducting 10 points that resulted in its relegation.

Naparima College lodged an appeal against Shiva Boys for the use of Mason on September 8, after the midfielder was found to have played on September 2 for Marabella Family Crisis Centre in the T&T Super League, which was well outside the SSFL’s cut-off date of August 31. The SSFL constitution states that appeals are to be made within 72 hours, and thereby Naps, which appealed two days after the game, had won the appeal.

However, Fatima College and QRC later lodged appeals against the same player nine days after and won. Shiva manager Sheldon Maharaj said his school did not attend a meeting of the appeals committee, knowing that the appeals by the North schools were against the constitution. Shiva also did not challenge the decision of the appeals committee. Yesterday, president of the SSFL Williams Wallace said the matter is set to face arbitration over the next week or so after it was raised at last week’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Mucurapo East Secondary School. “I don’t know how arbitration will rule, they may well rule in favour of Shiva Boys and put them back in the League , I don’t know,” Wallace said .

Shiva Boys matter did not go to the Appeals Committee last year, and they may now fancy their chances in front an arbitration panel being led by Tyrone Marcus, the legal representative for the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. Wallace said the League faced a few problems in the past, one in which its constitution specified that the Appeals Committee was the final channel to deal with issues of appeals.

If this is the case, however, then there’s unlikely to be a need for arbitration. Wallace said in the past the League used the expertise of the arbitration panel, before being told by Marcus and company, that there was no need for their services. However, the League will continue to use arbitration.

Wallace said until it receives legal advice to do otherwise.

Last year the Board of the SSFL took a decision to seek amendments to its constitution on legal issues to improve the management of its tournament, as Wallace made it clear he wants to focus on running a good league competition and allow the legal personnel to deal with matters of that nature.

Yesterday, Maharaj confirmed that documents of his school’s concerns were already submitted to the SSFL to be transferred to the arbitration panel.

Meanwhile, another proposal made at the AGM was for young school players to cease their involvement with any other club team, from the day they played their first match for their school.

Discussions on this will continue, Wallace said.


The ‘Shiva ruling’: SSFL changes rule for students in club competitions; Elie takes over at Trinity Moka
By Lasana Liburd *Wired868).

The Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) has amended its ruling on players involved in club competitions—in a move meant to avoid a repeat of the Shiva Boys’ Hindu College fiasco which took place in 2017.

Shiva Boys, who won the 2016 Premier Division title, were relegated from the SSFL last season after utility player Kierron Mason and left-back Matthew Beal were discovered to have represented club teams after the cut-off date of 31 August.

Mason, a former National Under-20 player, represented the Marabella Family Crisis Centre in the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) on 2 September while Beal turned out for Siparia Angels in the Southern Football Association (SFA) competition on the same day.

And, although neither player represented their clubs again that season, the late identification of the rule violation meant Shiva Boys were docked points for 10 of their 14 league games—and subsequently plunged from title hopefuls to table proppers.

The situation will not be repeated since, at Saturday’s AGM, the SSFL agreed to give players a clean slate whenever they play their first school match.

“What we have done is,” SSFL president William Wallace told Wired868, “instead of having the cut-off date of 31 August, once the student plays his first game in the SSFL, his registration [with any other competition] would be nullified.

“So, instead of going with the cut-off date, we decided that, if a student decides late to come in to the schools league, we are not going to stop that student.”

The SSFL ruling amends Article 16 (4) (a) of its Constitution which stated that: “A player, who having been registered and/or is playing with the TTFA or with another League or Association affiliated to the TTFA after 31st August of the current year, shall not be eligible to be registered as a player for their school unless they meet the criteria of the Credentials Committee.”

The implementation of Article 16 last season led to one of the most controversial episodes in the history of the Premier Division, as Shiva Boys were relegated after an inadvertent technicality.

Neither Mason nor Beal played in any external competition during the season and both would have been cleared to play in the SSFL if the school had applied promptly for their clearance. However, Shiva Boys Principal Dexter Sakal and team manager Sheldon Maharaj missed it and, when the complaint about the players came in, they were forced to pay the ultimate price.

For 2018, schools can breathe a bit easier on that score. Further, the SSFL’s amendment means that students who might have been discovered late by their school coaches or transferred in will no longer be ineligible merely because they represented their clubs after 31 August.

Wallace explained that, even if a student played in a TTFA-affiliated competition for all of September and October, he will still be able to play in the SSFL—on condition that he not represent his club for the remainder of the season.

Should the player return to represent his club, he will be deemed ineligible to play any more SSFL games that season. And, if he does anyway, the school will be docked points for any SSFL matches in which the player features after that point.

In other SSFL news, former Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-17 coach and TTFA FA Trophy winner Ken Elie has rejoined the schoolboys league after a six-year hiatus.

Elie, a Defence Force Warrant Officer Class 1, has already started work at Trinity College Moka, where he succeeds former head coach Marlon Minguel. Minguel, who led Moka to the North Zone Intercol title in 2016, was fired earlier this year.

The new coach hopes to build on Minguel’s solid work and is aiming for a top three finish for the school which barely avoided relegation last year.

“I realise there is some work to do but I am not afraid to work and I will give it my best,” said Elie, whose last school job was at Belmont Secondary in 2012. “I told them I envisioned a spot in the top three and that is what we are aiming for. […] I think it is achievable, given their last two years.

“I did my report in April and I indicated to the principal [Carl Tang] and manager [Shawn Lindsay] that what they have going for them is the guys are very disciplined. I can do wonders with a team like that and with that kind of personality.”

Presentation College (San Fernando) are the current SSFL Premier Division champions while Shiva Boys won last season’s Coca-Cola National Intercol title.