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Tobago pulls out of Schools League 2014

Published: 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
R Warner, left, of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL), with Jenelle Holloway, manager, product development, First Citizens; Wendell Constantine, BGTT; and Anthony Creed, president, SSFL, converse at yesterday’s launch of the 2014 season held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Woodbrook. PHOTO: SEAN NEERO

The Tobago Zone of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) has taken the decision to withdraw from the 2014 season of the BG T&T/First Citizens-sponsored tournament. 

Anthony Creed, president of the Secondary Schools Football League made the announcement at yesterday’s SSFL 2014 season launch held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Woodbrook. 

The tournament is scheduled to begin on September 3 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“As indicated in 2013 that after the last season results, 14 schools were selected: four from the north, south and east, respectively, and two top schools from the central zone were to form the premier league. 

“Please note that (the) Tobago Zone decided not to participate in 2014. They decided to widen their championship division. They said it was too difficult for them to travel to Trinidad at least seven times within a six-week window,” Creed said. 

News of this came as the SSFL revealed that the boys’ under-20 division would adopt a new format after five decades.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Creed said, after 50 years the annual general meeting (AGM) of the league took the decision to restructure the qualifying system.

In addition to the senior group and championship level, young footballers would now compete in a premiership division.

The fixture for this season’s girls’ competition will remain unchanged, as well as the championship and senior divisions.

Creed said the rationale for the decision was to ensure a higher standard of play and ultimately, a better quality of football.

“The league will consist of each school playing one round of 13 matches. The top three schools in the premier (division) will go into the national Big-Four with the winner from Tobago and these teams will decide the national league champion. 

“Promotion and relegation shall comprise the last three schools in the premier (division) being relegated to play in the championship in their respective zones,” explained Creed.

“The championship division will be played in zones with no more than six schools. The top two schools in the north, south, east and central zones will play in a Big 8 national play-off to determine the champion, as well as promotion. 

“The eight schools will play in the two groups with a round robin competition to decide the semi-finalists. The finals will decide the three schools to be promoted to the premier division.”

The girls’ championship division will be played in the north, south, east and Tobago zones and would culminate with a Big-Four play-off to decide the national champion.

Despite the many challenges the SSFL would have faced on its journey, Creed said the organisation was proud of its record as the longest-serving league in T&T.

Creed recalled the outfit’s beginnings and said it was formed with the aim of promoting football among student athletes inclusive of boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 20. 

“Presently, there are 112 schools that participate in the league. There are over 13,000 student footballers who are given the opportunity to learn and play football. We are proud to highlight that there are 65 schools that participate in girl’s football.”