The Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) has started in a most surprising way, especially with the two relative newcomers this season to the premier division, Malick Secondary and East Mucurapo Secondary, jumping ahead in what promises to be a tough season.
I would like to think that there will be an all-out effort from some of the high-profile football teams such as Presentation, Naparima and St Anthony’s. St Mary’s, which was at the lower end of the table last year, must lift the quality of their game.
From what I have seen thus far, the games are filled with energetic players, many of whom are attempting to show the surprisingly large crowds some of their personal skills.
As time goes on, the more experienced teams will have to demonstrate their improvement and gather points from the lower-level school teams.
It has always been my belief that this competition is the exhibition for the potential and natural ability of the students to reach the professional level, while some of the academically attuned students will share their time by ensuring that they are not short on either choice of career.
Many years ago, the opportunity to gain scholarships to attend universities in the USA were dime a dozen, hence the reason why many of our players graduate from university and join various US leagues.
The less academically inclined anxiously await any offer for opportunities to join professional ranks, whether it be in Indonesia, India, or any of the lesser-known football countries.
I am not aware of what improvements are made by our players in those countries, most of them ranked in the second half of the FIFA-rated chart.
This is probably one of the reasons why the quality of our game has not developed to the level of cohesiveness and tactical understanding which international teams are committed to move ahead in their performances.
I shall continue to search for any promise of brilliance from the college teams and wish them luck. – By Alvin Corneal, Former national footballer
SSFL PREMIER DIVISION TEAMS
East Mucurapo Secondary, Malick Secondary
Naparima College, Pleasantville Secondary
Presentation College San Fernando
Queen’s Royal College, San Juan North Secondary
Speyside Secondary Tobago
St Anthony’s College, St Augustine Secondary
St Benedict’s College
St Mary’s College
Trinity College East
Trinity College Moka