Home / Volley / Local Football / SSFL shooting stars: Naparima’s Lee holds off Shiva Boys’ Asson for scoring title

SSFL shooting stars: Naparima’s Lee holds off Shiva Boys’ Asson for scoring title

The Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division 2016 came to a striking finish last week, and after a season of passionate play, Shiva Boys’ Hindu College produced an amazing Cinderella run to win their maiden title.

Last year’s champs, Naparima College, were forced to settle for third place, and after a nail-biting, topsy-turvy conclusion on the final day of the season, former powerhouse St Benedict’s College managed to stave off relegation, while Fatima College, Pleasantville Secondary and Queen’s Royal College’s worst fears came to pass as they were not so lucky.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-in captain Tyrel "Pappy" Emmanuel (front, centre) and his squad celebrates after clinching the 2016 SSFL Premier Division crown after defeating Pleasantville Secondary 3-1 on 22 October 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-in captain Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (front, centre) and his squad celebrates after clinching the 2016 SSFL Premier Division crown after defeating Pleasantville Secondary 3-1 on 22 October 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The competition was intense, with spectacular goals and breathless plays from every corner of the pitch by young sportsmen from every corner of the country. Hearts were broken, goalkeepers were moved to tears and the races at the top and bottom end of the table were better for it.

Of course, to win in football you have to score goals, and the top strikers of the season were some of the brightest stars on the pitch.

Shiva Boys were relentless in their pursuit of glory, notching a record 37 points in 14 games. This feat was in no small part down to an experienced and potent attacking force led by SSFL Premier Division 2016 Silver Boot winner, Junior Asson, a crafty, mobile forward who offered a clever touch and an appreciation for the space around him

His final-day hattrick versus Fatima offered a perfect peek into the tools in his locker—from pouncing on a loose back pass; to bamboozling defences with composure; to a 30-yard rocket into the top corner—Asson proved to be a title-worthy marksman.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College attacker Junior Asson (centre) prepares to fire at goal while St Mary's College goalkeeper Jordan Bidaisee (left) and defender Emilio Saunders look on during SSFL Premier Division action at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College attacker Junior Asson (centre) prepares to fire at goal while St Mary’s College goalkeeper Jordan Bidaisee (left) and defender Emilio Saunders look on during SSFL Premier Division action at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Without a doubt, the most consistent goal scorer this season was Naparima ace Isaiah Lee.

Lee dominated the top of the scoring charts with 13 goals in 14 games in his first season with the southern football giants. Naps head coach, Angus Eve, likened him to Chelsea legend Didier Drogba in terms of his work rate and ability to hold up the ball; Lee himself, however, models his gameplay after Barcelona marksman Luis Suarez.

The 17-year-old worked tirelessly off the ball, chasing several “lost causes,” and managed to hold up the ball well—and judging by his scorecard this season, he knew where the goal was.

Lee’s heroics, however, didn’t help last year’s champs retain their crown. For the last two seasons, Naparima vastly outperformed a lacklustre Shiva Boys’ but there was no stopping the boys from Penal this year as they claimed a revenge of sorts over their southern rivals to raise their first-ever Premier Division trophy.

Naps had to settle for third.

Photo: Naparima College forward Isaiah Lee (left) takes his aim while Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Kori Cupid looks on during SSFL Premier Division action at Lewis Street, San Fernando on 28 September 2016. Lee scored one and set up another as Naparima won 2-0. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College forward Isaiah Lee (left) takes his aim while Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Kori Cupid looks on during SSFL Premier Division action at Lewis Street, San Fernando on 28 September 2016.
Lee scored one and set up another as Naparima won 2-0.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Sandwiched between the former and new reigning champions, the Lions of San Fernando, Presentation College, completed the southern sweep of SSFL’s top ranks.

Presentation’s rise to second was down to the attacking team of James Alex Yee Law and Nion Lammy who hammered in nine and seven goals respectively. Their goals accounted for exactly half of Pres’ tally for the entire season.

Even more impressive, the lethal pair did their best work at the business end of the season, ensuring that the Pres Lions cemented their position in the top two in order to qualify for the Digicel Play Cup, which starts on 5 December.

A bit further down the table, St Augustine Secondary’s Rahim Gordon was chief destroyer for the “Green Machine” scoring eight goals. Under the guidance of new head coach Adrian Romain, the eastern giants started sluggishly but eventually made their way up the SSFL table through grit, determination and a few smash and grab results—with Gordon usually providing the smash.

Photo: St Augustine Secondary captain Anthony Samuel (right) tries to escape from QRC defender Tevin Lessey during SSFL Premier Division action at the QRC grounds on 8 September 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: St Augustine Secondary captain Anthony Samuel (right) tries to escape from QRC defender Tevin Lessey during SSFL Premier Division action at the QRC grounds on 8 September 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

St Anthony’s College adopted a different formula to get results. While most teams depended on a single hitman to notch goals, the “Westmoorings Tigers” shared the goal-scoring joy throughout their ranks and registered 38 goals—the most of any SSFL team this season.

Boasting T&T National Under-17 and Under-20 players and a collection of some of the most explosive attacking talent in the SSFL, the Tigers had no fewer than five players who scored at least four goals. Electric wingers Haile Beckles and Tyrese Bailey ravaged defences nationwide while bagging five and four goals each.

Bailey’s T&T Under-17 teammate Che Benny and T&T Under-20 forward Kathon St Hillaire spent considerable time away on national duty, but when they managed to don their St Anthony’s kit, they struck four goals apiece.

The man who probably benefitted the most from the creativity and trickery of his teammates though was left back Derron John.

Featuring as the only defender in the top 20 SSFL goal-scorers, John registered only one goal out of his five from open play. The rest were all hammered into generally the same bottom corner from 12 yards.

Photo: St Anthony's College midfielder Haile Beckles (right) tries to escape from a Naparima College opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Westmoorings on 15 October 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: St Anthony’s College midfielder Haile Beckles (right) tries to escape from a Naparima College opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Westmoorings on 15 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

As the leading penalty taker in the SSFL based on success rate, his overall game play has been a major plus among the Tigers’ ranks whenever he barrels forward; he also boasts a powerful left foot that troubles any custodian between the sticks.

At the other end of the table, Fatima College’s giant Justin Araujo-Wilson was cast in the role of saviour but try as he might, he couldn’t help the Mucurapo Road team escape the dreaded drop to the Championship Division. Araujo-Wilson was the leading goal scorer out of the three relegated teams with six goals.

His imposing frame and ability to strike the ball crisply with both feet set him apart and as he displayed with his final round double versus Shiva Boys. Even in Fatima’s 4-2 defeat against the eventual overall champs, Araujo-Wilson was the man for the big moments, taking the game by the scruff, even giving Fatima the brief thrill of a 2-1 lead midway into the second half.

For all the goal scoring heroics in SSFL 2016 Premier Division, St Benedict’s College Detori Boucher was the man with the Midas touch. Benedict’s were as good as six feet under—dead last on the table as the final round of matches kicked off.

With just three rounds left and Benedict’s floundering on three points at the foot of the table, Boucher virtually single-handedly helped the southerners produce a Houdini-esque escape. Boucher only notched three goals all season, but they each came crucially in the final three matches, resulting in 1-0 victories.

Photo: San Juan North Secondary forward Renaldo Boyce (right) runs at Naparima College players Aalon Minors (centre) and Jeron Pantor during SSFL Premier Division action at Irwin Park, Siparia on 7 September 2016. Both teams played to a 2-2 draw. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: San Juan North Secondary forward Renaldo Boyce (right) runs at Naparima College players Aalon Minors (centre) and Jeron Pantor during SSFL Premier Division action at Irwin Park, Siparia on 7 September 2016.
Both teams played to a 2-2 draw.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Even more spectacularly, Boucher’s three goals were all free kicks, felling St Anthony’s, Signal Hill and Trinity College, Moka with his potency. Fortune though, favours the brave and it doesn’t get more courageous than stepping up and curling home three game winning free kicks for your classmates, teachers and alma mater.

Whether the ball trickles over the line or thunders into the top corner, a goal is a goal. Goals win games and the SSFL is no different. The 2016 season may have produced 22 percent fewer goals per game (23 goals) than the previous year but each one of them were just as important.

Let’s hope that the passion and thirst for goals continues as we roll into 2017.

SSFL 2016 Top 15 Goalscorers:

13—Isaiah Lee (Naparima College);

11—Junior Asson (Shiva Boys’ Hindu College);

9—James Alex Lee Yaw (Presentation College, San Fernando);

8—Rahim Gordon (St Augustine Secondary);

7—Nion Lammy (Presentation College, San Fernando);

6—Justin Araujo-Wilson (Fatima College), Alleric Williams (Fyzabad College), Renaldo Boyce (San Juan North), Quinn Rodney (Shiva Boys’ Hindu College), Haile Beckles (St Anthony’s College), Anthony Samuel (St Augustine Secondary);

5—Zion McLeod (East Mucurapo Secondary), Sharkeel Louison (Fyzabad Secondary), Renaldo McIntosh (Naparima College), Jerome Cyrus (San Juan North), Akil Frank (Signal Hill Secondary).

Photo: Signal Hill Secondary captain Akil Frank (left) peels off to celebrate after beating East Mucurapo Secondary goalkeeper Joshua Davis during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016. Signal Hill won 2-1. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Signal Hill Secondary captain Akil Frank (left) peels off to celebrate after beating East Mucurapo Secondary goalkeeper Joshua Davis during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016.
Signal Hill won 2-1.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

About Amiel Mohammed

Amiel Mohammed
Amiel Mohammed is a sports enthusiast and has worked in communications for Central FC and the Women's Premier League TT. He has also pioneered numerous projects geared towards creating opportunities for the differently abled such as the Differently-Abled Football Camp 2015 and Focus Football Coaching Academy.

Check Also

It’s final! Fatima and QRC escape drop while S/Juan North and East Mucurapo demoted

Almost seven months after the final ball was kicked in the 2016 Secondary Schools Football …

42 comments

  1. I STAND BY MY STATEMENT READ RANGERS COACH STATEMENT AND THEN YOU GET A CLEAR IDEA OF THE INDIVIDUAL ABOUT YOUNG PLAYERS AND THERE POUCHING

  2. we are not ranting lees mom and i are very good friend she one parent who seeks her sons intrest north east stars is the club that is responsible for the futher development of lee among other youth talant and we stand firm with it . while you are a good friend of Angus we were very displeased over the claim. and i stand firm by my comments.

  3. 2015 lee was part of north east stars moat powerful strike force at the u 17 level along side Ranaldo Francois both players were air marked to promation to the senior team both now attend naps

  4. there are two lees both attended valancia isaiah left for st augustine his brother played under me one year in the championship devision geting most goals isaiah had a broken foot in the u 16 youth pro league in 2014 u 16 did not finish was out almost the year he returned for the u 17 the following seasson and got most goals and m v p he then went on to you 18 the fallowing seasson under charles pollard an thats when he was drafted away from st augustine to naps . three full years as an outstanding youth player at north east stars.

  5. Apparently Isaiah lee started playing football in secondary school. Many people hear taking credit wonder how many knew him wen he played for Arima Boys RC. He ran track an made finals in primary athletics. So speed and control makes him a natural up front. He played midfield at boys’ rc because we had Ronaldo François and Afton Molino up front. Guess where you begin means little….its where you end up that matters

    • Carlos Lee, I think we will get Isaiah’s life story by the end of the day! Lol.
      But very true Peter. Dexter Cyrus, Ian R Briggs, Anthony Sherwood and Keith Look Loy were talking about the importance of primary school sport in a different thread.

    • And on that note Lasana, we are into National quarter finals yet again. Just saying lol

    • ..Any one coach who takes credit for developing a player and/or for that player’s success is fooling himself or trying to fool people. I believe, ultimately, the coach merely assists the player to develop himself

    • Keith – Well said. I would also add that some coaches do have a capacity to get more from a player than others. They understand the player’s strengths, and help to maximize it. They understand the player’s deficiencies and either work to improve them, or design ways to disguise them. They know what “buttons” to push and what carrots or sticks to use to motivate and encourage the player.

    • In Trinidad… the best Coach to develop a 5 to 11 yr old is a Coach from in the said kid’s community…he will know..and hav access to know everything about him….the Coach in the community will also know the culture and dynamics of the said community…this is a major factor in getting maximun capacity out of a 5 to 11 yr old

  6. norris we are very serious with our youth development it is very costly during the 5 months of youth football where ever the young stars come from with there ability for the past 4 years north east stars had an outstanding youth program where lee and others were the outstanding players ,

  7. Hey Isiah is an excellent football player and he comes from good stock, I was shocked that he was not selected to represent T& T at the u 20 level.

  8. he was my main striker and scored the most goals in the entire league

  9. Lee was a Santa Rosa player and his development started with Santa Rosa FC. I coached him at Santa Rosa where we reached the final of the National u 14 league. He left Santa Rosa when I left to pursue my MBA and Santa Rosa didn’t field a team.

  10. I am disappointed that Angus taking credit for the development of lee during his tenure at north east as head coach not one game in his 3 years he ever attended a youth league game lee was under my care at u 16 and u 17 and played u 18 under charles pollard at the u 16 level he had an unfortunate year in wich he had a fractured leg and was well nursed back into full fitness under mr Earl joseph at the u 17 level he formed part of the most letal strike force along side Ranaldo Francis picking up most goals and mvp he was drafted into naps this year what is diserpointed in Angus not one year did ever a youth player florish under him most of the youthful talant fell on the wayside we will take this issue seriously.

  11. Nice piece Amiel. Asson would be leading the MVP race for me at the moment.

  12. What happen today’s when guys top scored with 20 goals?

  13. I’m very proud of Justin Araujo-Wilson. An under 15 player who has stood out in Intercol. Great effort

  14. One bad season and it’s former powerhouse st Benedict’s? Hmmm