Football will return to Skinner Park in San Fernando on June 25 after many years, when the Southern Football Association (SFA) opens its 2023 season with a grand marchpast and exhibition game.
Since refurbishment works halted activities at a facility considered to be one of the major sports facilities in the Southland, the football field is set to be used again but on a smaller scale.
New president Dennis Latiff said the plan is to play an exhibition match at the facility.
However, recent changes in the dimensions of the field have moved it away from being of standard FIFA regulations.
Latiff, who defeated Brian Jordan in an election on April 29 for the post of president of southern football, said they have been checking the facility to determine how the game can be played there. “It maybe will have to be played on a smaller scale,” Latiff said.
The opening will feature 16 senior division teams, as well as other teams in the under-13, under-15, and under-17 divisions, all involved in a Marchpast parade.
The format of the tournament is also still being worked out, but Latiff said the senior division will comprise two groups of eight teams each.
From a round-robin play-off, either the top two teams will advance to the semifinals or the top four teams will progress to a quarterfinal play-off. “All these things are being worked out right now. We are planning to have 144 matches in the senior division this season. We will also have individual prizes for players and different competitions.”
“We are also putting things in place for a Women’s League in the southland. That league may not come out this year, but we have a team of people comprising Dernelle Mascall, the former national women’s coach, Preston Nanan, Mohan Persad and Alywyn Ferguson, all putting that in place. It’s unlikely we will have any competition among the women this year but would put things in place for a start next year,” Latiff explained.
The local football boss was expected to meet with Robert Hadad, chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee to discuss what is or what can be available for southern football this year.
He did not release information about the prize structure, saying it is currently being worked out.
According to Latiff, his association’s focus will be channelled toward overall development. He noted that work is being done to ensure that all teams are fully compliant according to the T&T Football Association and CONCACAF and that his senior division will be aligned with the T&T Super League or Tier 2, or Tier 1 of the T&T Premier Football League to ensure that there is constant progress among the teams.