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Wed, Sep

SSFL Interim president Phillip Fraser. He took over following the resignation of William Wallace in July.
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A three-man race exists for the leadership of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL), though the highly fancied tournament is unlikely to take place this year.

Phillip Fraser, the League's First Vice President who was handed the interim president's position following the resignation of William Wallace on July 6 this year, is set to be challenged by Merere Louis Gonzales, the chairman of the East Zone and former T&T and FIFA referee, and Derek West, a school teacher and sports' enthusiast at Trinity College East.

Fraser, a long-serving administrator at the SSFL as well as at local football club San Juan Jabloteh, told Guardian Media a few months ago that he wants to enhance the development of the student-athlete.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Election of officers are scheduled to take place on September 4, but restrictions due to the COVID19 pandemic could also pose an additional challenge. Fraser said a General Council Meeting may be needed to decide to how the elections may take place, as online voting will not be a valid option.

Contacted on Wednesday Gonzales, a hardworking administrator, told Guardian Media Sports it is hoped that a venue to facility proper social-distancing procedures can be found, saying if this is not so then the elections will have to be postponed.

Gonzales has held the position of East Zone chairman for the past 12 years. He was renominated unopposed an unprecedented 11 times before he also got the better of his opponent in a challenge last year. Gonzales said his intentions for the upgrade of the League include the improvement of the student-athlete, the retaining of existing sponsors while seeking new ones, and the implementation of programmes that will help student-athletes with scholarships abroad.

“I believe that there is always a need for progression and we have done this, but greater incentives must be placed on schools without a vibrant alumni association. For instance, at the prestige schools, the alumni groups help the schools with finances but it is not like that with other schools,” Gonzales said.

The former referee also wanted to make it clear that the SSFL is not a primary development programme for the T&T Football Association, saying they are part of the overall development scheme in T&T, as the tournament runs for three months.

According to Gonzales: “This is why the League falls under the Ministry of Education. It is part of the extra-curricular activities such as basketball and track and field.”

Attempts to reach West were unsuccessful, however, it is unlikely that the League will take place this year. Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh have ordered the stoppage of all child-related activity until September when the school term is expected to be opened.