It will be a bumper season in the Secondary Schools Football League this year, president William Wallace has said, and members of the Credentials Committee of the SSFL are working around the clock to ensure that this happens.
The League will kick-off next Thursday with a doubleheader at the Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna between newly Premier Division promoted school Valencia Secondary taking on San Juan Secondary from 3 pm, followed by the feature clash between St Benedict's College and Trinity College East at 5 pm, a match that will be televised live on Caribbean Sports Television Network Sportsmax.
Wallace pointed out that members of the credential committee are at this point, working hard to ensure there are no problems with players' registration, as what took place last year. Despite a high-quality of on-the-field display in the SSFL last season, the League was plagued by improper registration of players moving from club teams to schools, as well as students with false certificates entering schools for the sake of just playing football.
Wallace told Guardian Media Sports that his executive took a decision to start the League a week later in an attempt to alleviate all and any concerns of students being illegally registered. He said, "This is what's happening as we speak. The schools are in the process of dealing with registration of students and the credentials committee is also monitoring student/players for the SSFL."
Wallace said, however, that if certificates are found to be false, then his executives will not be held accountable, as they can only deal with the info before them. "That will be a different issue," Wallace said.
Before next week's kick-off the League will be launched a day earlier (Wednesday) at a press conference at the hall of Fatima College, Mucurapo, at which Wallace will reveal a number of new developments and business-partnerships that would make the league a stand-out one. He said he is still in the process of crossing T's and dotting I's on new agreements.
However, he called on stakeholders to do the right thing to avoid any mishaps, saying 'We are dealing with young men and women who are our future leaders, so we must set an example for them."
Last year's Coca-Cola InterCol champs Shiva Boys Hindu College will play no part in this year's League, either at the Championship or the Premiership Division, after being guilty of breaking a number of the SSFL's rules that led to its demotion. Wallace said he was hoping to see the school taking part in the championship division this year but it only registered to play in the junior divisions.
Fyzabad Secondary which fielded players with false documents last year will also play only at the junior level this year.
Wallace also took a swipe at Mike Awai, the North East Stars technical director for comments that the school's league was destroying young players, saying people first need to understand the role of the SSFL before making wild comments.