Tue, Feb

A Shiva Boys’ player battles with his opponent from Rio Claro West during a SSFL South Zone Under-20 match on Friday at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium Training Ground, Marabella.

New Intercol champs to be crowned as…

A NEW team will be crowned as the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Intercol champions as 2017 winners Shiva Boys will not be defending their title.

So said team manager/coach Sheldon Maharaj in a recent interview.

Shiva Boys won the 2017 title courtesy of a 2-0 win over San Juan North, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva with a double from midfielder Tyrell ‘Pappy’ Emmanuel.

However, a month earlier, in the SSFL Premier Division, Shiva Boys were deducted 17 points, and subsequently relegated, after fielding two players, Kierron Mason and Matthew Beal, who were improperly registered.

According to Maharaj, “the principal (Dexter Sakal) has taken a backseat on the football. He chose to play the senior grade – the Under-20s, instead of the Championship.

“We didn’t play the Championship this year (which would have helped us get) back into the Premiership,” Maharaj added. “We gave the players we (retained) the opportunity to play football while they’re finishing their studies with Shiva Boys. So we’re playing the Under-14s, the Under-16s and the Under-20s.”

Asked what the school to opt out of both the 2018 Intercol and a potential chance to return to the 2019 SSFL Premiership, Maharaj replied, “(the principal) made a decision that he wanted to ease off the football a little bit. It was taking away from the resources in the school.”

Midfielder Judah Garcia, who was named as the 2017 SSFL Player of the Year, is currently with the national Under-20 team in their CONCACAF Championship campaign in the US, while Mason is a member of the W Connection Pro League outfit.

Maharaj noted, “the majority of my senior team, who were there in the (2017) Premiership, didn’t transfer or go anywhere. They’re not even playing the Under-20 (age group). They’re playing with their clubs or with the national teams.

“To play Judah Garcia in the Under-20 would have been too advantageous, on that level,” he added. “They’re focusing on their clubs and focusing on their academics.” Maharaj made it clear, “We would not be allowed to take part in the Intercol. If we had played in the Championship, we would have been allowed to play in the Intercol. According to the (SSFL) constitution, senior division (teams) are not allowed to play in the Intercol.”

Looking towards the future, Maharaj sees good potential in the crop of players in the Under-14 and Under-16 teams.

“It wouldn’t be hard to build back, but it’s if the principal wants to (re-enter the team in the Championship),” Maharaj said.