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.
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.