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Michael Awai, the Director of Football at the T&T Pro League campaigners North East Stars, is calling for the Coca-Cola-sponsored National InterCol Schoolboys Football League to be changed from its present form.

The Stars’ boss believes the tournament is playing very little part if any in the overall development of the sport in T&T, as three months of football for young, budding footballers have done absolutely nothing to achieve the goal of enhancing players’ techniques and abilities apart from being a showcase tournament.

The National InterCol tournament, as well as the Secondary Schools Football League, have become a fixture on the calendar for school students, featuring a ready-made fan base and an avenue for young footballers to receive scholarships to Colleges and universities in the USA for which they are required to take the SAT exam. Through the SSFL players are receiving opportunities to go on trials with professional clubs overseas, as well as a chance represent the country at different age-group levels.

Awai said in spite of this, however, the tournament has not focused on a more technically sound player on the field, as seen in their inability to make the transition to international football and to be competitive, as the results of the country’s junior teams at international tournaments provides the evidence.

“If you look at the CAC Games alone, you will see they cannot beat Costa Rica, Honduras and Colombia, and they have been largely ineffective when they go abroad on trials etc,” Awai said.

It also creates a lot of school drop-outs, after six weeks of football as some students don’t return to school, Awai said.

He believes sponsorship monies given for the InterCol should instead be directed to the pro league clubs to pay quality development coaches locally and internationally. “Every young player should be involved with a coaching academy which have developmental coaches. The schools should all be aligned to clubs or vice versa, and the focus should be on teaching players how to play the game of football,” Awai explained.

He added, “Let the school football be played during the school hours and allow the young students to go to the academies afterwards, as there are no development coaches at schools.”

Meanwhile, Awai’s Future Generation of Footballers (FUTGOF) Academy kicked off on July 2 for interested young players between the age group 5- 17 years at the Cipriani College of Labour & Co Operative Studies Ground, Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Valsayn.

FUTGOF aims to develop the proper technique and ability of players in the basic skills of the game such as passing, heading, trapping, kicking, dribbling, shooting, control and touch.

Times for training will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-6pm.

Interested persons to contact him at (373-2800, 789-2781) for further details on sponsorship etc.


SOURCE: T&T Guardian