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Pres­i­dent of the Sec­ondary Schools’ Foot­ball League, William Wal­lace, does not re­mem­ber a time in his­to­ry when as many as sev­en di­vi­sions of the com­pe­ti­tion have had spon­sor­ship.

At Tues­day's launch of the 2019 sea­son at Fa­ti­ma Col­lege on Mu­cu­rapo Road in Port-of- Spain, Wal­lace beamed as he thanked the league’s cor­po­rate part­ners for com­mit­ting to this sea­son’s com­pe­ti­tions to the tune of al­most one mil­lion dol­lars in cash and prod­uct.

Among those part­ners are First Cit­i­zens and Shell which re­tain co-spon­sor­ship sta­tus of the Pre­mier di­vi­sion; Co­ca Co­la, ti­tle spon­sors of the boys’ and girls’ In­ter­col; Fru­ta, which will spon­sor the form one com­pe­ti­tion and the newest ad­di­tion, Mal­ta Carib, com­ing on board to spon­sor five di­vi­sions. They will fund the run­ning of the un­der 14 and 16 boys’ com­pe­ti­tions, the un­der 15 girls’, as well as the boys’ and girls’ se­nior di­vi­sion.

Dig­i­cel/Sports­max will for the third year in a row, pro­duce tele­vised broad­casts of match­es week­ly in North Amer­i­ca, the UK and re­gion­al­ly, at an op­er­a­tional cost well over $1.5 mil­lion. Mean­while, in­ter­na­tion­al sports­wear man­u­fac­tur­er Jo­ma, which is the of­fi­cial spon­sor of Trinidad and To­ba­go na­tion­al teams, has com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing a home and away play­ing uni­form for each of the 15 Pre­mier Di­vi­sion teams as well as train­ing and trav­el­ling kits for play­ers and staff worth over 500 thou­sand dol­lars.

In a time where the sport has suf­fered for fund­ing at many lev­els, Wal­lace says that is a tes­ta­ment to the at­trac­tive­ness of the schools’ game.

“We con­tin­ue to have a prod­uct that is at­trac­tive be­cause it’s sus­tain­able. It doesn’t have the lev­el of con­fu­sion that seems to ex­ist at the top and that is one of the rea­sons why spon­sors are at­tract­ed to us.”

Wal­lace al­so not­ed that this swell in spon­sor­ship co­in­cides with the in­creased ex­po­sure of our best young tal­ent while he ac­knowl­edged that the main aim of the League is its ex­pan­sion of the class­room, on­to the field of play.

“For us, that is the most im­por­tant thing. How many per­sons play (schools’) foot­ball? Over four thou­sand every year. Three-quar­ter of more than that would not go on to play pro­fes­sion­al foot­ball in any way but they go on to be­come cit­i­zens of T&T. For us, cre­at­ing the cit­i­zen who can con­tribute pos­i­tive­ly to Trinidad and To­ba­go is our ma­jor mis­sion.”

Mean­while, the com­pe­ti­tion be­gins in earnest on Sat­ur­day with the Dig­i­cel Cup, to be played be­tween last year’s un­de­feat­ed tre­ble win­ners, Na­pari­ma Col­lege and.

League run­ners-up Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege San Fer­nan­do. That match will take place from 4:30 pm at Man­nie Ramjohn Sta­di­um in Mara­bel­la and will be pre­ced­ed by an over-40 clas­sic match be­tween past Na­pari­ma and Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege play­ers from 3:30 pm.

RELATED NEWS

SSFL lands Joma kit sponsorship.
By Narissa Fraser (Newsday).


FOR the first time, the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) will have a sponsored kit.

SSFL president William Wallace made the announcement yesterday morning, at the official launch of the 2019 season, at Fatima College, Port of Spain.

An elated Wallace said, “For the first time in 55 years, the SSFL has landed a uniform. Joma, through its local distributors Sportway, supplied all 15 Premier Division teams with two playing kits (home and away), training kits for players and staff, travel kits for players and staff, bibs, etc.”

Joma also sponsors the T&T national team and international clubs such as Swansea City AFC and Villarreal FC.

Wallace added while he has seen a recent increase in match turnout, the committee wants to see full stadiums “at all times,” this season. He began his tenure as president in 2017.

“For us to get satisfied and say we’re pleased with anything–then we are not a dynamic organisation. There is always room for improvement.”

This year’s sponsors are Coca Cola, Digicel/SportsMax, First Citizens Bank, Fruta, Malta Carib and Shell.

Angus Eve, Naparima College head coach, said the league assists with the development of student athletes and can “take them forward.” Naparima College were the winners of the 2018 Premier Division (Boys) after an impressive season. The team maintained an unbeaten run for all 14 games, topping the table with 34 points. Presentation College, San Fernando placed second with 33 points.

“The league can develop players, it can develop student athletes to take them forward because we developing holistic young people to not just to be athletes but to be a part of society because we know what is going on today with the youths in our society. We as coaches have to play an important role in that part,” Eve said.

Fatima College, Bishop’s High School, Tobago and Valencia Secondary School were relegated to the Second Division.

Eve joked, “Thanks for the use of the ground and the (auditorium) facility today because that’s the only involvement you might get in the Premier Division this year.”

The season kicks off on Saturday when Presentation College, San Fernando face the 2018 champions Naparima College in the Digicel Cup at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

SSFL Top Scorers