What could have been behind the decision by triple champions Naparima College to breach the Secondary Schoolboy Football League's sponsorship agreements?

The start of the Secondary Schools Football League Premier Division was not without drama, as triple defending champions Naparima College and the competitions sponsors have fallen out.

The defending champions’ opening game against St Mary’s College at Lewis Street ended without viewers on television seeing any of it.

SportsMax Ltd, broadcast sponsors of the SSFL, were bound not to carry the event, which Naparima won 3-0, after the defending champions and triple champions last season, wore branded clothing in contravention to a previously agreed sponsorship with league and apparel giants, Joma.  

The broadcasters have since reached out to all its viewers to explain the situation, apologizing for a position it was forced to take and asked for understanding. 

“SportsMax Ltd, On the back of a breach in branding guidelines set by the SSFL by Naparima – regrettably SportsMax was forced to pull the broadcast of the game between Naparima College and St. Mary’s College,” a release from the organization read.

“While we realise that this is disappointing to fans of Schoolboy Football, it’s important to point out that we take our responsibilities to the SSFL and to its sponsorship partners very seriously and take great pains to ensure full compliance,” it continued.

“We would like to thank viewers and sports fans for their understanding in this matter.”

The Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premiership is set to kick off on Wednesday, September 11, with record sponsorship of approximately TT$3 million in what is probably the fastest-rising high school football competition in the Caribbean.

For the first time in its history, Trinidad's SSFL will have five sponsors in major sponsor Digicel, Premiership title sponsors First Citizens Bank and Shell Trinidad & Tobago, Intercol title sponsor Coca-Cola, Malta Carib and sponsor/broadcaster SportsMax.

Outside of the major sponsors, the league is also benefitting from a number of other firsts.

President William Wallace stated that "this is the first time that the SSFL is benefitting from the addition of a gear sponsor, with Joma coming on board."

The increased level of sponsorship investment and increased coverage of the SSFL through broadcast on CNC-3 and SportsMax over the last two years has made it more attractive to different organisations around the Caribbean and worldwide.

President Wallace continued: "Of course, the presence of Joma has brought together ALL the the stakeholders, in the schools, the SSFL and the sponsors, which have agreed unanimously, for the first time, on uniformity across all jerseys for all participating schools in the Premiership.

Earlier this year, during the SSFL’s awards ceremony, one of the most famous footballing names out of Trinidad and Tobago, former national and English Premier League goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, was named the SSFL's ambassador sponsored by Digicel and SportsMax

The role means Hislop has been going around conducting clinics ahead of the competition’s start this year, as well as visiting schools to give inspirational addresses and serving as a mentor to the student athletes.

“I’m a product of the Secondary School’s Football League (SSFL).  I’ve always been a huge admirer of what it brings and what it offers to young men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago school system,” Hislop had said of his appointment earlier this year.

“I know how big a role it played in my own football development, so I’m more than happy to lend a hand in hopes that it can do the same for some of the others.”

Hislop will be watching keenly on Wednesday as a full slate of games kicks off the season, the big one for him, his alma mater St Mary's College up against last year's champion Naparima.

Shaka, like many in the Caribbean and around the world, will be able to take advantage of the innovative SportsMax App, which will be televising matches. If you are on personal computer, you may also watch your favourite teams at watch.sportsmax.tv.

Watching on the SportsMax app and on its website are additions to the broadcasts that will come from SportsMax, shown on its channel as well as on CNC3 and Ceen.

Olly McIntosh, President & CEO stated "The SSFL Premiership and Intercol now has 5 sponsors investing over TTD3M and a first time ever kit sponsor with uniformed jerseys. Matches are now broadcast on CNC-3 in Trinidad & Tobago and regionally and internationally on SportsMax. This is an incredible achievement by the SSFL over the last 4 seasons when Digicel and SportsMax became sponsors and the sponsorship for the competitions and exposure was much less. Glad all schools are on baord"

Defending champions Naparima College begin their campaign at their Lewis Street home against St Mary’s College, while runners up, Presentation College are away to Trinity College Moka.

In other games, San Juan North Secondary are at home to Pleasantville Secondary, St Benedict’s College take on Trinity East at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, while newcomers Malick Secondary go to Speyside Secondary, East Mucurapo play against Queens Royal College at Fatima and St Augustine Secondary are at home to St Anthony’s College. Carapichaima East Secondary are the team on a bye this week. All games begin at 3:30pm ECT.

 

SSFL Opening round schedule

 

San Juan North Secondary - Pleasantville Secondary @San Juan

St. Benedict’s College - Trinity East @Mannie Ramjohn

Speyside Secondary - Malick Secondary @Speyside

Trinity College Moka - Presentation College @Trinity Moka

East Mucurapo Secondary - Queens Royal College @Fatima

St. Augustine Secondary - St. Anthony’s College @St Augustine

Naparima College - St. Mary’s College @ Lewis Street

Carapichaima East Secondary – BYE

Naparima College have begun the Trinidad and Tobago schoolboy football season this year much in the same way they ended it last year, with silverware.

The Digicel Cup is there’s but it wasn’t easy going at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, the Secondary Schools Football League defending champions having to handle the nerves that come from lining up in front of the penalty spot after a shoot out against perennial rivals, Presentation College.

Presentation College opened the scoring in the second minute through an Ash Jacobs penalty.

A mix-up between goalkeepers and defenders would soon return parity to the scores and despite chances at both ends, there were to be no further additions to the scoreline.

Naparima College were perfect from the spot with man-of-the-match, Kern Cedeno setting the tone with the first penalty.

In fact, Cedeno would put Naparima up 1-0 in the shoot out after Jacobs missed the first penalty from Presentation.

That lead would never be relinquished with Vashaun Duncan, Thompson, Declan Marcel, and Jabari Lee all showing nerves of steel.

Former English Premier League (EPL) goalkeeper and television pundit Shaka Hislop has been appointed as an ambassador for the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL). 

The 49-year-old Hislop, who spent 10 years in the EPL’s top flight where he represented Newcastle and then West Ham is expected to play the role of mentor for burgeoning T&T schoolboy football talent.

According to Hislop, who attended St Mary’s College as a young player, claimed the decision to take up the position was a no-brainer.

“It was a pretty easy decision on my part.  I’m a product of the Secondary School’s Football League (SSFL).  I’ve always been a huge admirer of what it brings and what it offers to young men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago school system.

“I know how big a role it played in my own football development.  So I’m more than happy to lend a hand in hopes that it can do the same for some of the other,” he added.

 In his role as ambassador Hislop is expected to conduct clinics with coaches as well as visiting schools to give inspirational addresses.  At the end of the season, he will be selecting an All-Star team.  Hislop made some 26 appearances for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

Beginning the final day a point back of defending champions, Presentation College, Naparima College handled their business to claim the 2018 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) title. 

Bishop’s High School will not be part of the Secondary Schools Football League’s Premiership Division next season after their 11th loss this season ensured relegation. 

Naparima College have continued to find winning tough in the wake of pressure at the top of the Secondary Schools Football League Premier Division after a third successive draw. 

Defending Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premiership division champions, Presentation College, extended their lead atop the tables after a  2-1 win away at St Augustine on Saturday. 

Defending Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premiership Division champions, Presentation College are now two points clear at the top of the table after Naparima College stumbled at Trinity College East on Matchday Eight. 

Queen’s Royal College (QRC) and St Mary’s College (CIC) have been part of a Northern derby in the Secondary Schools Football League now for what seems like forever, but the two teams aren’t just looking to get one over on each other when they meet today. 

Presentation College’s lead atop the Secondary Schools Football League Premiership Division is just down to goal difference now after the defending champions dropped two valuable points in an away 1-1 draw with the Queen’s Royal College (QRC). 

Defending Secondary Schools Football League’s Premiership Division champions, Presentation College have continued their hot start to the 2018 season with a comfortable 3-1 win over St Benedict’s College at home. 

With last week’s leaders St Anthony’s College on a bye, defending Secondary Schools Football League Premier Division champs, Presentation College took full advantage to take the lead in the 2018 tournament with a hard-fought win over St Mary’s College (CIC). 

Presentation College, defending Secondary School Football League Premier Division champions, got out of the gate quickly this season, winning their opening encounter at home to Trinity College Moka. 

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