Wed, Oct

Fatima College players celebrate their 1-0 victory over San Juan North Secondary at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday, October 22nd 2022.

Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president Merere Gonzales is happy with the continued growth of secondary schools football in Trinidad and Tobago, suggesting that the quality of the league will only keep getting better with many former players returning to aid with the development of the next generation of stars.

He said the SSFL continues to draw former standout players back to help out in various ways. Speaking to Shaun Fuentes during the half-time show at the San Juan North Secondary versus Presentation College San Fernando clash at Hasely Crawford Stadium on Tuesday, Gonzales said because of the prominence of the league, many former national players are coming back into the fold.

He also revealed a proposed plan for the top two league teams to play against the top teams from the Jamaica Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) football league.

“We are meticulously and systematically putting things in place to ensure that all areas are covered, so that the teams in the various finals are well taken care of. We are very fortunate because we have the opportunity for these games to go live to a global audience,” noted Gonzales.

“One of our main plans in moving forward, and this is something that took place at the commencement of the season, there is the grand possibility that the top two teams in the league will find themselves representing T&T in what we will call the revamping, the resumption, the reigniting of the Caribbean clash between SSFL and ISSA from Jamaica,” the SSFL boss revealed.

“That tournament is supposed to take place between 14-20 of December and we are already in discussions as to preparing for it. One will say why not the InterCol winners. We would have liked to consider it but because of the timeframe for the InterCol to conclude it would put that particular team at a disadvantage. Only for now, for 2022, we will go ahead with the top teams within the league, which we know will very well represent us in this upcoming clash with Jamaica,” he explained.

In terms of having former national players and former SSFL players back in the league to lend their coaching expertise to teams, Gonzales said the magnitude and reputation of the league has a lot to do with it.

“Because of the magnitude of the league itself and the reputation and legacy and the history the SSFL has created since 1964, there are a lot of prominent celebrities, former national players who have returned to league and are now assisting maybe through coaching, managerial or administratively or otherwise,” Gonzales added.

“So, we are seeing them there coming back on board. Hutson Charles is there with Fatima; we have Mr Michael Grayson with St Mary’s College; Shawn Cooper, the national Under-17 coach, is here with Presentation College San Fernando; Lyndon Andrews, better known as “Chubby” is with Arima North and right now Dexter Francis is doing quite well with Siparia,” he continued.

“So, we are seeing these individuals gravitating towards the league and moving towards ensuring that the output of the student athletes is best supported by them in collaboration and working along with the SSFL and that I am really happy about,” Gonzales concluded.

SOURCE: T&T Express