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Shiva Boys relegated after SSFL rejects identity theft argument for second illegitimate player

Defending champions Shiva Boys Hindu College will be relegated from the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division at the end of the 2017 season, after their latest alleged administrative failing left the “Penal Princes” adrift at the bottom of the 15 team standings.

After hearings at Carapichaima East Secondary yesterday, the SSFL’s Disciplinary and Appeals Committees ruled that Shiva Boys be docked a combined total of 14 points for failing to properly register two players, central midfielder Kierron Mason and left-back Matthew Beal.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College midfielder Kierron Mason in action against Fatima College during SSFL action at Mucurapo Road on 30 September 2017.
(Courtesy Annalisa Caruth/Wired868)

The ruling means Shiva Boys plunge from fourth place to last with a total of just nine points; and they have no chance of avoiding relegation on the closing day of the season tomorrow.

The beneficiaries near the foot of the table are Trinity College Moka and St Benedict’s College, who will both avoid the drop now. At the top of the table, meanwhile, Presentation College (San Fernando) go two points clear after their 3-0 on-the-field loss to Shiva Boys on 14 October became a 3-0 triumph in the boardroom.

Ironically, all three teams with a chance to clinch the title on Saturday—Presentation, St Anthony’s College and Naparima College—all benefitted from protests against Shiva Boys. The defending champions had defeated “Naps” and “Pres” and drawn 2-2 with the “Westmoorings Tigers.”

Today’s boardroom ruling centred on a Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) outing by Mason for Marabella Family Crisis Centre on Saturday 2 September; and a Southern Football Association (SFA) match played by Beal for Siparia Angels on the same day, which was 48 hours after the deadline for SSFL players to stop participating in Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)-affiliated competitions.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College left-back Matthew Beal (right) tries to hold off Trinity College East player Liu Chin during SSFL action in Trincity on 4 October 2017.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-images/Wired868)

The SSFL Constitution allows for schoolboys who played outside of the deadline to still be registered for its competition. However, schools must request clearance for such players, complete with the relevant paperwork from the league in question.

According to Article 16 of the SSFL Constitution, failure to do so is punishable by “Loss of points or even suspension from further participation in the League for the remainder of the season, as the Disciplinary Committee may decide.”

The Penal-based school had already lost six points this season after successful protests by Naparima College and St Anthony’s College for the improper use of Mason.

Shiva Boys principal Dexter Sakal, who handles the team’s administrative duties alongside manager Sheldon Maharaj, accepted responsibility for the Mason cock-up—which he said was an honest oversight rather than a deliberate attempt to get an advantage over the rest of the field.

His defence of Beal’s name appearing on a Siparia Angels team sheet on 2 September was far more interesting.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College principal Dexter Sakal (left) poses with a football supporter during SSFL Premier Division action against St Mary’s College at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Sakal told the Disciplinary Committee that it was a case of identity theft. In an effort to strengthen Shiva Boys’ case, he produced another Siparia team sheet, on 23 September, which suggested that Beal had again represented the SFA team during the schoolboys’ season.

On that same day, though, Beal played for Shiva Boys in Moka where they defeated Trinity College Moka 2-0. And Sakal said the left-back was with the school team from about 11am until 9pm when they got back to Penal.

He said it proved the club was in the wrong.

“When we investigated, we realised that [Siparia Angels] had used another player under his name,” Sakal told Wired868. “The boy told us he didn’t play but we were worried until we saw that team list on 23 September. That proved what the club was doing…”

However, the Disciplinary Committee was not convinced that Sakal’s second team sheet was sufficient evidence to invalidate the first document, which suggested that Beal played for Siparia on 2 September.

There was also the matter of Shiva Boys application for Beal’s clearance from the SFA, which was made on 24 October and suggested that he had not been properly registered prior to that. Or does it?

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College team manager Sheldon Maharaj (centre) enquires about the health of right back Ronald Charles (on ground) while captain Judah Garcia and Tyrell “Sexyman” Baptiste look on during SSFL action against St Mary’s College on 30 October 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“When we thought he had played, we got [the clearance],” said Sakal. “But then we realised there was an error and we didn’t need clearance. The boy always said that he didn’t play but we didn’t know what to think until we saw the second team list.”

It is uncertain whether Sakal will challenge the Disciplinary Committee’s verdict.

Yesterday, he refused to attend the Appeals Committee’s meeting on Mason on the grounds that it was illegal.

On 17 October, a two-man Disciplinary Committee panel, comprising SSFL general secretary Azaad Khan and North Zone secretary Roger Martin, pardoned Shiva Boys for their improper use of Mason throughout September. The decision was not communicated to the general membership.

The SSFL’s letter to Sakal gave its reasons for not deducting points as the Shiva Boys’ apology and acknowledgement that it had flouted the rules as well as the school’s “attempt to immediately procure the transfer certificate.”

Fatima College and Queen’s Royal College (QRC) subsequently protested the decision not to deduct points from Shiva Boys. But Sakal pointed out that the appeal was lodged more than 72 hours after the verdict and contended that, as a result, it should not have been heard.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College midfielder Kierron Mason (background) converts his penalty kick past Fatima College goalkeeper Jacob Camacho during SSFL action at Mucurapo Road on 30 September 2017.
(Courtesy Annalisa Caruth/Wired868)

“There is […] no justification for considering an appeal that is 72 hours late,” said Sakal. “I have written to the League asking that they provide an explanation but none has been provided.

“Given this situation, I feel that the Executive of the League are acting unlawfully and I will not be coerced into attending any appeal (hearing) that is unconstitutionally convened.”

However, Fatima and QRC countered that the timing of their appeal was no fault of theirs as they were not officially informed of the decision until a week after the fact.

SSFL president William Wallace admitted as much in an interview with Wired868 last month.

“Normally, a protest would come from a school and so when the matter is dealt with both schools—the protesting school and the one facing the protest—would be informed after the hearing,”  Wallace said on 25 October. “In this case, no school protested the matter; it was information that was picked up and dealt with directly by the Committee. So they just informed the school that was involved.

Photo: Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president William Wallace (centre) greets players before kick off in a SSFL match up between Shiva Boys Hindu College and Naparima College at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 8 September 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“But now that we have a third party interest, we asked [the Disciplinary Committee] to send [its decision] to everybody, especially the two schools who (had) enquired about the status of the matter.”

Whether or not the Disciplinary Committee’s decision was valid in the first place is also open to debate. There are allegations that, to start with, Martin was not a member of the committee while the question has been asked about whether two persons can legally constitute a quorum.

Arguably, Sakal’s position that he would not appeal the Mason decision could spare the SSFL Executive many blushes.

“I don’t feel I should commit my school to that kind of torture for football,” said Sakal. “Whatever happens, I will leave it there. This is a school and not a football club.

“At some point, I have to say enough is enough with the football and the distractions.”

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College coach Hayden Ryan (centre) poses with school supporters after their 3-0 SSFL Premier Division win over St Mary’s College at Lachoo Road on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Yet, in the end, it was the Beal case that proved to be the last nail in Shiva Boys’ coffin.

Even if the SSFL had ruled on behalf of Shiva Boys in all three challenges against Mason, Sakal and Maharaj’s failure to prove the whereabouts of their left-back on 2 September would have sunk them anyway since he played—supposedly without proper clearance—in 10 league matches.

Today’s boardroom decision capped off a bizarre season off the field for the schoolboys league and, unquestionably, the most disastrous title defence in the history of the competition.

Things went awry from Shiva Boys first match as ‘they used Mason off the bench in their 2-1 opening win over Naparima College although he had been registered as a student for barely 48 hours before kick-off.

SSFL rules state that players must be registered for at least 72 hours before they can properly compete.

The bigger problem, though, was that Mason’s TTSL outing for Marabella meant he was still unqualified as a player since proper clearance had not been sought by his school.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College players celebrate during SSFL action against St Mary’s College at the Morne Diablo Recreation Ground in Penal on 30 October 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

By the time Sakal and Maharaj caught on and submitted the appropriate paperwork, Shiva Boys had already played eight matches. So the school was forced to continue from there with zero points and just six matches remaining.

There was still opportunity for coach Hayden Ryan’s team to rescue their Premier Division status for the 2018 season by winning their remaining fixtures.

But then, like a thief in the night, came word of Beal’s registration issues. And Shiva Boys were deep in trouble.

Whispers about Beal’s eligibility, Wired868 is aware, had been making the rounds as far back as Monday 1 October. Somehow, it took the rumours three more weeks to get to Penal.

And, by the time Shiva Boys management team sprang into action and cleared the player on 24 October, there were just four games left, that proved to be insufficient time for the Penal Princes to save themselves from the drop.

Belatedly, Sakal argued that Beal didn’t need clearance at all and was the victim of some devious behaviour by his club, Siparia Angels. But he could not convince the SSFL Disciplinary Committee of the truth of his story.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College defender Matthew Beal (left) runs at St Mary’s College midfielder Justin Keith during SSFL action at the Morne Diablo Recreation Ground in Penal on 30 October 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

There is, though, one sliver of hope.

Last season, San Juan North Secondary were set for demotion—based on the standings—but successfully petitioned their fellow teams to ignore the table and vote for them to stay up; they argued that they had been unfairly penalised owing to post-season boardroom decisions against East Mucurapo Secondary and Presentation which negatively affected their final placing.

Sakal and company can follow suit. They might appeal for the sympathy of their colleagues on the grounds that Shiva Boys never sought to cheat but had simply made a mess of the registration process.

If the first school to get wind of the Beal issue had shared the information with Sakal, the Penal school would be in mid-table today. But this does not change the fact that it was Shiva Boys’ error to begin with.

“This season started really well but then it didn’t go well,” Sakal told Wired868 on Monday 30 October. “We really stumbled this season [with] our off-field challenges which were more than our on-field challenges…

“At the beginning of the season, I said we have such a good team that the only ones who can beat us is ourselves and it turned out so true—not for the boys but the management, who made a couple of errors [that] cost us dearly.”

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College stand-in captain Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (right) holds on to Carapichaima East attacker Theophilus Bourne during SSFL action at Carapichaima on 28 October 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Should the current table reflect nothing but results on the field of play, Shiva Boys would today be tied with Presentation at the top of the standings and seeking their second successive title with an emphatic win over St Benedict’s on Saturday.

Had they managed it, they would have become only the second school to successfully defend the Premier Division crown, following Naparima’s back-to-back league trophies in 2014 and 2015.

Instead, owing to shoddy administrative work and a controversial team list, Shiva Boys are set to play in the lower division next season.

SSFL Standings (IF the League were decided ONLY on on-the-field results)

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

  1. Presentation         13-9-2-2-34-14-29
  2. Shiva Boys HC     13-9-2-2-34-15-29
  3. St Anthony’s        13-8-4-1-41-22-25
  4. San Juan N          14-6-6-2-35-16-24
  5. Naparima            13-8-3-2-28-15-24
  6. Fatima                 13-7-1-5-19-18-22
  7. Carapichaima E  14-5-3-6-23-21-18
  8. Trinity East          14-5-3-6-22-21-18
  9. St Mary’s             13-4-4-5-27-27-16
  10. St Augustine       14-5-1-8-26-32-16
  11. QRC                     14-4-3-8-23-30-15
  12. St Benedict’s       13-3-4-6-19-27-13
  13. Trinity Moka         13-3-2-8-15-32-11
  14. Signal Hill             14-2-3-9-13-28-9
  15. Speyside High      14-2-1-11-8497

Current Updated SSFL Standings

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

  1. Presentation       13-10-2-1-37-1132
  2. St Anthony’s       13-9-3-1-42-20-30
  3. Naparima            13-9-3-1-30-13-30
  4. San Juan N          14-7-5-2-38-16-26
  5. Fatima                 13-8-1-4-21-14-25
  6. Trinity East          14-5-3-6-22-20-18
  7. Carapichaima E   14-5-3-6-23-21-18
  8. QRC                     14-5-3-6-25-25-18
  9. St Mary’s             13-4-4-5-26-27-16
  10. St Augustine       14-5-1-8-26-32-16
  11. Trinity Moka       13-4-2-7-18-30-14
  12. St Benedict’s       13-3-4-6-19-27-13
  13. Speyside High    14-3-1-10-11-4410
  14. Signal Hill           14-2-3-9-13-28-9
  15. Shiva Boys HC    13-3-0-10-10-34-9

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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269 comments

  1. Ah poking a jep nest…. who keep meeting dey recently….LOL

  2. But the game today with st Mary’s an st Anthony,s was a good game⚽⚽

  3. This season was a lesson. You remember the old people saying “harden children does feel” well we saw it.

  4. Brian Jordan…Congratulations….it was a good one……

  5. Congrats to Brian Manning and all the Pres Sando crew!

  6. Presentation San F’do walked the talk… Congrats to the new champions!

  7. Y dey doesn’t check dem other big boy teams

  8. All that’s wrong with Trinidad in this scandal… clearly only “college” boys could play football as only college boys could get top awards… the treatment of Pt fortin secondary vs the treatment of. Shiva boys who initially received a slap on the wrist for the same offense…

  9. Btw, Matthew Beal apparently did not play against St Augustine so Shiva Boys kept their points for a 4-3 win, which means they are on 9 points.
    If Shiva Boys hadn’t lost to Carapichaima East last week, they would have still had a chance to avoid relegation.

    • Everyone fighting down shiva,even the referees… The referee won caps the game against shiva… Y’all might say I’m a Shiva supporter hence I’m making excuse by I’m saying the referee won caps the game.. But I was there and I witness it…

      • Your talking nonsense the lad was blatantly foul in the penalty area twice in the first half CAPS was awarded 1 penalty what game you was looking at BTW Mister HARRIS is one of the TOP referees in TRINIDAD are you challenging his credentials

  10. u know how long dey waiting to do dis why is dey do dat once fyzo Shiva get relegated dey glad just to let Anthony or the town school to win theintercol title

  11. Man playing under next man name long time in football…so why dat so hard to believe…i doh know why dey didnt protest against naps…ah hope dey appeal and doh just let de prestige schools ride over den …dat ie de prolem in trini justice is one sided and only certain classes of people must prosper…since de season start dey out for shiva…even sportsmax….i say down with elitism…justice for all…please fight dem shiva…do like sanjuan last year

  12. Wow on the surface it appears to be a tragedy of errors moreso at the School itself but i dare say also with the SSFL. I fully understand the requirements of the body’s constitution, its rules regulations etc, all of which have to be adhered to. Notwithstanding all this, there is also the saying that such rules and regulations are made to GUIDE and should not unflinchingly govern. The SSFL now needs to examine itself, its operations, to what extent ALL its constituent members have been playing fair, its relation to the lives and future careers of young men and its relevance as a conveyor belt for the NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM. It is very sad when any team has to achieve dominance either by unconventional means, or via DISCIPLINARY BOARDROOMS. If this does not spur the SSFL to look inward and clean up its own operations, then this and other like situations would continue to plague schoolboy football. To Shiva Boys i can only say, take comfort in the fact that in 1966 the onetime giants of school boy football (Colleges league at the time), St.Benedict’s College LaRomaine – Dom Basil’s Brunner Boy’s, were stripped of both their league and National Intercol Titles, for reputedly fielding two (2) over aged players (who were also national players). The following year 1967 the same St.Benedict’s College returned with the youngest (average age) team in the Colleges League competitions and swept all before them, winning both the League and National Intercol Titles. That team whose roster read a list of National Greats, was led by Lawrence Rondon and featured Leo ‘Twinkletoes’ Brewster, Steve David, Clebert Lennard, Dave Reuben and Tony Douglas (15yrs old at the time), all outstanding TnT players. Whether it is a coincidence or not, this period also marked the end of St.Benedict’s as a dominant force in local football and also the end, of a period whereby, because of the high standard of SCHOOL BOY FOOTBALL at
    the time. The National Football Team was regularly furnished with young talent such as Gally Cummings, Leroy DeLeon, Warren Archibald, Steve David, Tony Douglas, Leo Brewster, Jan Steadman etc, all of whom literally walked onto National Teams and also opened the way for Professional contracts overseas. With very few exceptions, this for a numbers of years has not been the case with the successor Secondary Schools league. A lot of questions should be asked of the participating Schools and the League Administration as to their true roles in developing local football, or is it all about winning at all costs (no attention to standards on or off field), to secure glory for the respective schools.

  13. Corruption take over this land in every sphere. Lord have mercy on us

  14. If you follow the rules there would be no problem…..it all on them!

    • These guys that you’ve mentioned are not just a group of young players who possess potential, but they are also a group of fantastic young men. There are people here locally who are committed to seeing them succeed despite everything that has transpired…

    • Anthony..do not believe they are in your class but nonetheless the TTFA/Pro League and clubs and the players all have a duty to carry this talent beyond SSFL.SSFL finish …. let’s get the ball rolling so that those following in the years to come can seamlessly continue

    • Anthony, how many stamps were on your passport by the age of some of these kids? You were already on the senior national team.
      I am happy to people are trying to help these kids but I don’t recognise their current path as one to sporting success really. Not as professional players. So I really hope they get their passes and try to get scholarships.

  15. We say they played Good Football then what the U17S Brazil,England,Spain just play is WHAT.Let us set good standards please.

  16. Time will tell where Pappy and they reach in REAL FOOTBALL life.Dion et al…time will tell what school has done for them and where THEIR TALENT carries them ALL THE BEST IN THEIR FUTURE ENDEAVORS.

  17. Yeah boyyyyy!! Men go transfer

  18. Gone are the days of SSFL whn 95% of the plyrs frm the schl were original students (frm 1st form up ) .. and the competition and victories were genuine. Now schls ( not all) are scouting and bringing players from anywhere to get a win , putting them in 6th form wth 1 o’ level … or at 19yrs in 5th form (for the 3rd time ) … greed is truly a deadly sin …

  19. To pappy, garcia and asson hold your heads high. You all played good football. I rate you all.

  20. At the end of all of this, it’s the talented young players who suffer and may never get the chances they deserve. And this would obviously have a ripple effect on local football as well. I can’t help but feel that some people involved in this debacle had some sinister intentions.

  21. Malik Lewis #worstseasonyet. So many hickups and relegations its disappointing! Those players must feel really really dispondent.

  22. It’s interesting when you see who is the Coach of marabella and naps

  23. Feel bad for the players who have done their part on the field by winning the games.

    Very sad state of affairs that the administrators let them down.

  24. It’s time these things happen start to crack down on the stupidness cuz if you are a real football lover coach etc you would know the rules and therefore not complying with the rules u get punished if it happens all over the world y can’t it happen here. Time to clean up all the nonsense. Good Job SSFL All teams should take note of this no matter what two teams get relegated for nonsense , let’s see if the others learned anything!

  25. What in dark always cometh to light. I’m quite certain that other schools have been engaging in corrupt practices, which leaves the nagging question in my brain, why did Shiva withdraw their protest against Naparima? Was this also a case that should of been brought to light. Additionally i also gather that sense of affiliation to certain prestige schools and the persons entrusted to conduct the affairs of the ssfl and how decisions are enforced on certain schools. Remember Shiva was first warned about their infringement yet the rules mandated otherwise. Now the rules are being enforced,only now. I would not be surprised if other schools are involved in illegal practices but information apparently is only being relayed to a select few. What are we really teaching our future generation? But nonetheless I pray that things will and can be improved. Lasana Liburd

  26. I have sympathy for Shiva. This was a case of administrative error as opposed to trying to cheat to win. The spirit of that law was upheld in terms of ensuring the boys did not play football outside of schools football during the season, even though the letter of the law was not.

  27. I see people blaming the SSFL administrators for all the boardroom decisions, and I’m wondering why. I can see the administration being at fault if the rules were unclear, insufficient (not taking into consideration all the possible infractions that could occur), or not properly disseminated to all schools in a timely manner. Plus they have a meeting with all school reps to discuss these issues long before the league starts.

    From what I have read over the last month or so, there is not much evidence to suggest that the SSFL admin were guilty of all that I mentioned. So in my mind it really boils down to the schools’ admin to ensure proper registration/rules are followed. I really feel it for the Shiva and the youngster Beal if in fact his name was used improperly by his club, but I can understand that without evidence to support that, it’s really a hard sell to the disciplinary committee. I can’t see the SSFL admin getting involved in checking match fixtures for all leagues under the ambit of the TTFA to find our whether any schools boys registered in the SSFL was playing. That is for the school admin to ensure proper protocols are followed. SSFL can’t have fraud detection technology to see who forge documents etc. School administrators have to step up their game and be honest about it.

  28. ..Rules is rules. Know them. Abide by them. Change them if you don’t like them. But live with the consequences of rules..

  29. do some of these players actually go to these schools

  30. This was not an attack on Shiva Boys but an attack on Sat. If one is a conspiracy theorist.

  31. Which ever team wins the league at the end of all this controversy real football fans of the SSFL will surely consider this years edition as disappointing. Football lovers enjoy seeing games settled on the field not in boardrooms all this controversial decisions just sour the league this year.

  32. SSBL… Secondary Schools Bobol League.

  33. This has been going on for years, not only in Secondary schools but colleges so why the surprise? Fyzabad is the scape goat. You want us to be believe Colleges are exempt from this. Different strokes for different folks

  34. Lol the bias in these comments is quite astounding.