Jamaica Observer / The senior schoolboy football competitions run by the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) are set to undergo a major overhaul ahead of the September 8th start later this year. This was disclosed by ISSA President Dr Walton Small at the schoolboy football end of season awards luncheon held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston yesterday.
“We recognise that there were some issues with the scheduling as well as the structure, so we are going to be looking at the entire Manning and daCosta Cup, as well as the Super Cup, and reorganise to ensure that the students will not have more than two matches per week.
“Plus, we want to look at creating some free days within the schedule, in case of emergencie,s where the students can play, but I can assure you that students will not have more than two matches per week, with the minimum of 72 hours for recovery,” Small revealed.
He insisted that the rescheduling will not result in a longer season.
“We are restructuring the competition and the restructuring will help us to ensure that the schedule takes place within the same time limit (as obtains now).”
The Wolmer’s Boys’ School principal expressed his delight with the just-concluded season, especially with the level of talent on display.
“I am extremely happy with the just concluded season, with the spread of trophies — granted JC (Jamaica College) got three but if you look at the spread of the trophies in the various competitions we are extremely happy. The quality of the players is beyond what was expected. Even when they went to South Florida, the All-schools team to play against their Under-19s and some of them Under-23s they were just absolutely superb. One thing I am sure about is that the qualifications of the coaches, [and] the input of the of the support teams made a difference.
“It is amazing that some of the students, especially from the rural areas, that we did not hear about, they are there like superstars. Thank God for ISSA football, it has really provided that platform and the avenue for students to display their talents.”
He promised to add more value to the traditional ISSA-run competitions to enhance the fan experience and bring even more people to the matches.
“The other thing that we are also looking at for next year is to look at having a number of double-headers, because we are trying to get the matches on good pitches just like we did it for the Super Cup. We want to replicate same for the rest of the competitions, that is why I said there is going to be structural changes to ensure that you won’t know the difference between Super Cup and Manning Cup and daCosta Cup. The fans can expect more quality right across the board.”
The five-year contract that was originally signed with sponsors FLOW has now expired and Dr Small was happy with what they have brought to the table. He also expressed confidence that a new contract will be agreed upon between both ISSA and FLOW.
“First of all, I want to say thanks to FLOW for bringing a different level of professionalism to the way football is presented. The excitement that they promised at the beginning, they delivered, so with the right negotiations I don’t see why they should not be back on board. However, you never know. It is open, and any company can apply. One thing that is going in their (FLOW) favour is that they have what is called the right of first refusal. I am happy with what we have had and I am looking for another five years.”
The man who leads one of the most powerful sporting bodies in the country also insisted that the Super Cup is here to stay.
“In our restructuring, the Super Cup will not be eliminated. It cannot be because of the fact that it has brought a level of energy to the system. If we remove something like that we would be asking for problems from Jamaicans. It has really brought some level of vibrance and excitement to the football [and] we will be definitely looking at keeping,” he assured.
Jamaica College was the most successful team of the 2017 season taking the orginal treble of the Manning Cup, Walker Cup, and Olivier Shield. The only other team in the Corporate Area to win a title was Kingston College, who won the Super Cup. The unfancied Rusea’s High won the daCosta Cup, while pre-season daCosta Cup favourites Clarendon College lifted the Ben Francis Cup.
There were a number of individual awards going to players and schools. Jamaica College standout player Tyreek MaGee, was named Manning Cup Most Valuable Player while Rusea’s High striker Leonardo Fogarty, was the daCosta Cup’s Most Valuable Player.
Manning Cup Runner’s-up St Andrew Technical High School were named Most Defensive Team in the urban area competition after conceding a miserly five goals all season. Clarendon College, who also conceded a measly five goals were the Most Defensive Team in the daCosta Cup. The Most Attacking Team for Manning Cup was KC with 67 goals, while Dinthill Technical copped the daCosta Cup equivalent with 69 goals.
Rashawn Mackison of KC (19 goals) and Kaheem Parris of Dinthill Technical (20 goals) scored the most goals overall in the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup, respectively. However, the Golden Boot for the Manning Cup went to Mackison for his eight goals after the knockout round began, while Nicque Daley of Clarendon College with 12 goals, was the daCosta Cup Golden Boot winner. KC were also named the Most Disciplined team.
— Dwayne Richards