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Mucurapo face potential relegation over “illegal player”; Fatima, Pleasantville could benefit

Oh, how quickly things can change. Less than a fortnight ago, East Mucurapo Secondary were one of three schools to escape relegation from the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division on the final day of the season.

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 player, Jesse Williams, scored twice in a 2-1 win over Fyzabad Secondary on 26 October 2016, which should have secured Mucurapo’s place in the top flight of the 2017 competition.

Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary attacker Zion McLeod goes airborne to control the ball during SSFL Premier Division action against St Benedict's College at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary attacker Zion McLeod goes airborne to control the ball during SSFL Premier Division action against St Benedict’s College at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

However, a successful protest by St Benedict’s College over Mucurapo’s use of defender Abdus Ramcharan might undo the latter school’s good work on the field and could have far reaching implications on the league standings and the identities of the bottom three.

SSFL assistant secretary Gerald Elliot Elliot explained the matter.

“[Mucurapo] were brought before the disciplinary committee for having used a player, who at the point in time was thought to be a repeater,” Elliot told Wired868. “But then it was discovered that the boy is in Form 6. However, contrary to our Rules and Regulations, based on the overtures of the principal, the Ministry [of Education] allowed the boy to go into Form 6 with only three subjects, where he now has to focus on writing the other two subjects probably in January.

“Our rules clearly state that for you to play the football and entering Form 6, you must have a minimum of four subjects. So it is on that basis the committee ruled the player was ineligible to participate as a player in the league.”

St Benedict’s were the immediate beneficiaries.

“The team which brought forward the protest, which was St Benedict’s College, were awarded the game,” said Elliot. “Mucurapo had won 2-1. So now St Benedict’s will benefit with three points and three goals.”

Photo East Mucurapo midfielder Joshua Constantine (centre) shows his studs as he goes for the ball while St Benedict's College midfielder Kristoff Burkett (second from left) has second thoughts during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo East Mucurapo midfielder Joshua Constantine (centre) shows his studs as he goes for the ball while St Benedict’s College midfielder Kristoff Burkett (second from left) has second thoughts during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 6 October 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

As it turned out, Benedict’s beat the drop on the final day of the season. The awarded points means that the southern outfit will swap places with the Mucurapo Road school with St Benedict’s and Mucurapo now finishing in 10th and 11th place respectively in the 15-team table.

However, it gets messier since Ramcharan featured in more than one game for Mucurapo this season.

“[The SSFL] is now in the process of checking the referees’ reports to see if there are any other games which he had played in,” said Elliot. “And the decision will then be carried forward based on what the results of those games were.”

And the result of that SSFL probe could affect the outcome of the competition from top to bottom. Mucurapo could suddenly find themselves relegated. And they are not the only ones, as San Juan North Secondary look suddenly vulnerable.

Mucurapo manager Jimmy Arthur confirmed that they have already appealed the SSFL disciplinary committee’s decision, though.

Was the East Mucurapo management staff aware that the player did not have the number of passes required to play in the SSFL?

Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary coach Dale Saunders (centre) gives instructions during SSFL Premier Division action against Signal Hill at Moka on 14 September 2016. Signal Hill won 2-1. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary coach Dale Saunders (centre) gives instructions during SSFL Premier Division action against Signal Hill at Moka on 14 September 2016.
Signal Hill won 2-1.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“We had discussions pertaining to that and we have made a decision on how we are going forward,” Arthur told Wired868. “So as it stands we are treating with that. We hope that it is dealt with in a timely manner.”

East Mucurapo head coach, Dale Saunders—who also coaches two-time Pro League champions Central FC—did not sound as confident as his team’s manager.

Saunders confirmed that Ramcharan, a slim but dogged defender, was a regular in his squad this season.

“I didn’t know we used a player who was ineligible,” said Saunders. “I thought every player we registered was legal. I was surprised that the player was used against the rules. I was just waiting to hear the outcome of the meeting.”

For now, the SSFL is awaiting for its appeal committee to rule before considering the possible implications to the disciplinary committee’s verdict.

“Since there is an appeal we did not want to go public as yet,” Elliot told Wired868. “We said we’ll let the process take its course. Once the appeal committee rules in favour of the decision of the disciplinary committee, then we would go to the next step of doing the sanctioning.”

Photo: Giant East Mucurapo captain Akquinde Marslin (left) tries to turn past a Signal Hill opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Giant East Mucurapo captain Akquinde Marslin (left) tries to turn past a Signal Hill opponent during SSFL Premier Division action at Moka on 14 September 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Arthur suggested that Ramcharan could represent Mucurapo in Intercol action tomorrow against Diego Martin East. Elliot insisted otherwise.

It could end in tears for Mucurapo, who once fielded Trinidad and Tobago stars like Kevin Molino, Joevin Jones, Khaleem Hyland and ex-2006 World Cup forward Cornell Glen.

Mucurapo played in the inaugural Premier Division season in 2014 but were relegated—despite winning the National Intercol title that year. They bounced right back up to the top flight in 2016.

But, if the SSFL appeals committee endorses the decision of the disciplinary committee, they will go right back down to the Championship Division again.

And what will it do for the rest of the SSFL top flight?

Shiva Boys Hindu College won the Premier Division with a record 37 points. But they were held to a goalless draw by East Mucurapo. If Ramcharan played and Shiva Boys are awarded the win, the Penal-based school will move up to 39 points from a possible 42—surely a total that would not be easily overhauled.

Photo: A Pleasantville Secondary player (foreground) laments the final result after a 3-1 defeat to Shiva Boys Hindu College in SSFL Premier Division action in Pleasantville on 22 October 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: A Pleasantville Secondary player (foreground) laments the final result after a 3-1 defeat to Shiva Boys Hindu College in SSFL Premier Division action in Pleasantville on 22 October 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

There will be more emotion amongst the bottom four clubs, though.

Twelfth placed San Juan North defeated Mucurapo, so their points total would remain unchanged at 11. However, 13th placed Queen’s Royal College drew goalless with Mucurapo while 14th placed Pleasantville Secondary and table proppers Fatima College both lost to the school under investigation.

If the SSFL rules against East Mucurapo and he is found to have played against the three aforementioned teams, then Pleasantville would move to 13 points and 11th place while Fatima and QRC would end with 12 points each. And the three goals awarded to the victors would give Fatima a superior goal differential to the “Royalians” by a solitary item.

It would mean that East Mucurapo, San Juan North and QRC would be relegated, rather than—as it currently stands—Fatima, Pleasantville and QRC.

Today’s Championship Division Big 5 results confirmed promotion for Carapichaima East Secondary, Trinity College East and Speyside High School. Suddenly, there are question marks as to which schools that trio will replace.

Photo: Trinity College East midfielder Kishon Hackshaw (centre) accepts the congratulations of his teammates during SSFL Championship Big 5 PlayOff action away to Princes Town West Secondary on 4 November 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinity College East midfielder Kishon Hackshaw (centre) accepts the congratulations of his teammates during SSFL Championship Big 5 PlayOff action away to Princes Town West Secondary on 4 November 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

SSFL Premier Division standings [At present]

(Tabulated as Played-Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

10. East Mucurapo  14-4-3-7-13-19-15

11. St Benedict’s       14-3-3-8-7-21-12

12. San Juan North 14-3-2-9-21-24-11

13. QRC                        14-2-4-8-8-20-10

14. Pleasantville      14-2-4-8-12-27-10

15. Fatima College  14-2-3-9-15-27-9

Photo: San Juan North midfielder Tigana O’Brien (right) holds off Naparima College defender Sylon Sylvan 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 midfielder Tigana O’Brien (right) holds off Naparima College defender Sylon Sylvan 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)

SSFL Premier Division standings [If Mucurapo are penalised for all their results]

(Tabulated as Played-Won-Drew-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points)

10. St Benedict’s     14-4-3-7-9-19-15

11. Pleasantville      14-3-4-7-14-24-13

12. Fatima College  14-3-3-8-18-26-12

13. QRC                        14-3-3-8-11-20-12

14. San Juan North 14-3-2-9-22-23-11

15. East Mucurapo   14-0-0-14-0-42-0

About R.Walcott

R.Walcott
Roneil Walcott is a Journalism and Public Relations student at COSTAATT and a freelancer at Wired868. Walcott is an avid sports fan and former Harvard Cricket Clinic member and ex-St. Mary’s College cricket player.

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86 comments

  1. Let Fatima stay down them play shit

  2. Mr Liburd did you get an idea of how long the appeal committee may take to come to a decision on this issue?

  3. still wondering how Pres Sando beat St Marys 9-0 to end up second in the league!

  4. if the verdict stands the only team to lose from all this is san jaun north , ill be delighted if my old school Pleasantville can benefit from this but it will be unfair to san juan because its not their fault , I WOULD SUGGEST A PLAYOFF FOR THE TWO SPOTS THAT WILL BE LEFT VACANT . THAT WAY IT WILL BE FAIR TO EVERYONE

  5. Veno, the Pres drubbing was because of St.Mary’s fielding a 2nd string team having nothing to gain (being out of championship contention) and nothing to lose (being far from the relegation zone). It appears that they decided to give the subs and juniors “ah run” as it was their last game of the season.

    Pres hopefully had no control over which players took the field in front of them so ran riot. Obviously, these tactics by the Saints padded the Pres Goal Difference that would have been more respectable had St. Mary’s fielded a full strength team.

    The impact of this meant that although Naps and Pres finished with the same number of points and with Naps winning the head to head match up 2-0, the largely superior goal difference Pres were gifted allowed them automatic qualification to the SSFL Super Cup.

    Perhaps the Archdiocese wanted a Catholic School represented in the Cup or St. Mary’s were tired from the rigours of the campaign? Who knows as we can only speculate but irrefutably the Saints are no minnows.

  6. Is is documented somewhere that this is the procedure for dealing with an illegal player? Just wondering…Seems to me that if a team puts forward an “illegal player” as part of the playing squad then the team should be disqualified. Now that they are “checking” to see which matches the lad played….is is that there are plans to pull someone out of the relegation zone? When did St Benedict’s register their protest? At the end of the season? To what end since this in no way affects them? Would be great if it’s just for the sake of doing the right thing…hmmmm

  7. Greater issue is the number of footballers in Form 6 on paper only just to “play ball”. No work getting done…and several schools have been doing this for years… Even more, they often do not have the required CSEC passes to truly enter any 6 th Form and cannot cope with the academic rigours of Form 6…but then they are not there do do work…right! What about the ones who come back to Lower 6 just for the September – December term and are gone as soon as “football season” ends…Nothing new in any of this…and so much more going on for the sake of what? Bragging rights?

  8. Michael alyuh still thiefing lol

  9. Terrel Mmg boss and mr solomon……i have 1 question……how does one read an article where Benedicts is the school that lodged the ONLY complaint so far and yet you can talk about this being done to save “north school…..and Fatima”? …..smh….common sense getting more and more uncommon yes
    sheppy20

  10. Look bachannal…..Kerry Lynch Arlon James Candice Simone Barrow….smdh

  11. I hope the administration at Mucurapo would also be reprimanded for this. Bloody dishonest!

  12. I could understand you lost so you getting your 3 points and 3 goals but why is the team that draw not benefiting. QRC should protest to get full points .

  13. Hoping Shiva Boys is not in that racket , that will turn the school football upside down .

  14. Was this boi😡😡 they trying f**k we up boi Renaldo Prescott just to save Fatima and them 😡😡

  15. I endorse Earl Best’s sentiments and Lasana the SSFL can mitigate this by simply requesting, prior to the start of the season, a MoE or School Stamped Transcript of grades attained by all players on the roster registered by the respective teams.

    It is not difficult for a school’s administration to use Microsoft Excel to tabulate the academic credentials on one sheet then validate such with the transcripts. This would idemnify both school and SSFL from future protests on the account of player eligiblity. Perhaps we may see this being a mandatory requirement by the SSFL going forward?

  16. Well that is bacchanal.

    School circumvent process just to satisfy this kid playing football ?

    Wonder if Principal and staff will receive further cross examination on the issue

  17. Lol now how did my Alma mater get that info about the illegal player. Well done Benedicts. Would be great to see Pleasantville play another season of top tier football. Both schools dear to my heart

  18. U do not need 4 passes to do 6 form.

  19. Another Tobago team joining the league Lasana Liburd…hopefully Benedict’s gets a game across there so I could jump across lol….and this is an interesting turn of events….for sure SAN Juan would appeal

  20. Can fatima really dodge the axe for the 3rd straight year? Lmao

  21. Forget the matter of fielding an “illegal” player.

    We should be talking about only needing 4 passes to get into form 6 now??? Don’t recall that back in my days!

    If so, says a lot for our education system now. Sad!

  22. Bacchanal. San Juan North would be royal screwed… And what an escape that would be for Fatima!

  23. Wow…this is very interesting

  24. Hassan, cross your fingers! Lol

  25. And that contingency planned might end up saving Pleasantville and Fatima. Nice one coachman. 🙂

  26. what is the criteria to go into form 6

  27. Real plenty skool do dah to like prez and north and othera

  28. Maybe contingency plan as they were on the brink. Lol

  29. ..This is news? Ho hum. As old as the hills..

  30. Brian Jordan and Jomo I. Johnson and the gang have a great spying network perhaps.

  31. There’s always high possibility of breaches that slip through the crack annually…especially in our system.

    How did Benedict’s find out though ?

  32. There must be…where him ? Tell the man open a fb account na…geez

  33. This does happen when certain prestigious schools in the North can’t stand relegation so they merge with other schools to get the job done in a smart way

  34. Earl Best

    For me, the question that arises is this “Does the League check on these things? If there had been no protest, would all of these now to-be-adjusted results have stood?

    That seems somehow wrong if the answer is yes.

    And, of course, the other derivative question is this: Are Mucurapo the only school indulging in questionable practices or are they the only school NOW REVEALED to be so acting?

    The question is likely to remain moot. And SSFL officials mute.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Excellent question for sure. The SSFL would have to consider if they have the resources to check eligibility of all players.