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The first-ever Mayor’s Cup Football Tournament kicks off at Skinner Park in San Fernando from April 5 and runs until April 9.

Four teams will vie for the inaugural title – last year’s Southern Football Association (SFA) winners and runner-up La Brea Pitchmen and Moruga Samba Youths respectively, a Tobago representative XI and the Trinidad and Tobago U20 men’s team.

Each team plays their opponent once and the winner will be decided via round robin. There will be double-headers on April 5, 7 and 9. The games will either be televised or broadcast live online.

Alderman Daniel Dookie, who is also city council chairman of sport and youth affairs, believes the Mayor’s Cup is another step towards the achievement of a multiplicity of sport objectives for San Fernando.

“We will continue to utilise Skinner Park, with football this time, and use sport in the city for development of young people and the community,” Dookie said at Friday’s launch at City Hall.

Last weekend, the council, led by mayor Robert Parris, joined forces with the Southern Games committee, National Association of Athletics Administrations and T&T Cycling Federation, to host the revival of Southern Games at the venue.

For the Mayor’s Cup, Parris has included SFA president Denis Latiff to help manage the tournament. Latiff was pleased to bring football back to the venue.

“We’re bringing Skinner Park back to life again, considering all the great matches that have played before,” he said.

Latiff added that the Mayor’s Cup kicks off a busy schedule of sporting events at the facility for this year. He dubbed the launch a restart of football in south, which precedes the annual SFA senior and junior tournaments.

Parris added that the first-time competition was initially intended to feature a US-based team, but scheduling conflict couldn’t make it happen. However, the organisers still plan to invite representatives with the hope that some of them can still make it.

“Once these overseas players come, we intend to engage these teams to see if there is a partnership that can be formed,” Parris said. “It was our intention to facilitate teams from aboard, more so to provide opportunities to the younger players, and for them to be guided to scholarships abroad. Hopefully by second edition we could have that up and running.”

Also, part of the organising committee is former Point Fortin mayor Francis Bertrand, who also has a rich history in the southern city, as an ex-standout Secondary Schools Football League player for Presentation College, San Fernando.

Speaking as vice president of the World Conference of Mayors responsible for the Caribbean, Bertrand endorsed the project and commended Parris’ team for their vision.

“Through my organisation, we are going to work together to help develop this product and have a greater foreign input next year and use this project as a stepping stone in San Fernando for youths with potential,” he said.

The tournament is being sponsored by the National Gas Company and the National Lotteries Control Board.

Admission to matches is $40 for adults and $20 for children.


SOURCE: T&T Newsday