Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Schoolboy football entries close on Friday

Published:Monday | September 20, 2021 | 12:11 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica College’s Tajay Grant (right) winds up a shot while being tracked by Vauxhall High School’s Jahmaree Rowe during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at Ashenheim Stadium in St Andrew on Friday, September 13, 2019.
Jamaica College’s Tajay Grant (right) winds up a shot while being tracked by Vauxhall High School’s Jahmaree Rowe during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at Ashenheim Stadium in St Andrew on Friday, September 13, 2019.
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ISSA President Keith Wellington is expecting widespread participation in the DaCosta Cup and Manning Cup football competitions this year. Entries close on Friday, and early indications suggest that most schools will be in action. Asked about the...

ISSA President Keith Wellington is expecting widespread participation in the DaCosta Cup and Manning Cup football competitions this year. Entries close on Friday, and early indications suggest that most schools will be in action.

Asked about the level of interest from schools, Wellington said: “We have a deadline set for this Friday to determine that final time to give everybody a final chance to make a final decision. At the initial stage, we had upwards of 90 per cent of the regular schools still wanting to participate. That would have been July, though. So we are now planning, we’re taking entries from our schools, ensuring that they definitely want to participate. So we’ll know that in a short while.”

More than 80 schools normally contest the rural tournaments, including the DaCosta Cup, with over 40 in the urban area tournaments, including the Manning Cup.

ISSA is shaping the 2021 competition around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re still doing the background work, putting in the necessary things so that when we get to the point where we believe that it is safe to do so, we will be ready, but we are confident that we will have schoolboy football, and we are also confident that we have the support of, basically, all our stakeholders, so it’s just a matter of the safety concern and when we’ll be able to do so,” Wellington said.

The body will draw on lessons learnt in staging the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in May.

“We had over 1,200 athletes and over 1,700 athletes and officials in total at Champs, and the compliance level was extremely good, and so we have a lot of confidence in the school system and the young persons, and their willingness to comply with the requirements to make it a safe environment,” Wellington said. “The value of getting these kids involved in these activities is extremely important and so as principals, all our principals have committed to ensuring that they provide the opportunity. So even in terms of concerns about the fallout of schools wanting to participate, you’d be surprised at the number of schools who are still committed to participating.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

“There would have to be some level of safety and security arrangement around the game, not just the venue, but along the same lines that we would have had for track and field in terms of transportation and how we ensure that when they get to their venues, we have some level of screening to ensure that we’re not exposing others and persons who may not be well are not involved.”

In a final comparison to the Champs experience, Wellington said, “It would be slightly different, but the principles and requirements will be similar.”

The reigning DaCosta Cup champions are Clarendon College, while Jamaica College hold the Manning Cup.

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