The 2019 Secondary School Football League (SSFL) Premier Division season got off to a dramatic start this afternoon at Lewis Street, San Fernando with the action on the field between hosts Naparima College and St Mary’s College being the least of the talking points.
In a move with still undetermined repercussions, Naparima, appeared to defy the decision of the governing SSFL general counsel as they turned out in an unsanctioned uniform, which did not bear the logo of league sponsor, Digicel across their chest.
The result? SportsMax promptly pulled the broadcast feed before the action even got fully underway.
SportsMax executive producer Kerry Gibbons confirmed that the SSFL will make an official statement on the issue within the next few days. Naparima head coach Angus Eve also preferred not to comment on the developing matter at the end of the game.
It was a sour note for SSFL president William Wallace who, on 3 September, announced an extensive list of sponsors for the new season, as he trumpeted the continued commitment of Digicel, Sportsmax, Shell, Coca Cola and FCB and welcomed new sponsors Joma and Malta Carib.
The SSFL executive presented all Premier Division teams with Joma jerseys bearing branding from their official sponsors last week, including Digicel emblazoned across its chest.
Naparima petitioned the SSFL general counsel for permission to promote their own sponsors—Tiger Tanks Limited, Kenson School of Production Technology, Tradewinds Hotel and Club Sando—but lost a vote on the issue.
This afternoon, the SSFL’s defending champions refused to fall in line, as the school placed sponsors as it saw it fit across their own jerseys. SportsMax made their contempt for Naps’ decision clear. The television company also ordered its contracted photographic company, Caribbean Action Images—who also shoot for Wired868—to airbrush the Tiger Tanks logo from their photographs of today’s match.
The next move is likely to come from SSFL president, Wallace, and his executive.
Football fans, who were promised a live feed from the game on CNC3 and SportsMax, were left in the dark, though. They missed the action on the field, where Naparima made light work of their youthful opponents St Mary’s—who followed uniform protocol—with a 3-0 victory.
Eve made a full 11 changes to the team that defeated Presentation College in the Digicel Cup on Saturday. Many of the familiar faces, excluding injured 2018 MVP Mark Ramdeen, returned to the lineup.
Kodel Frontin was at his metronomic best, keeping Naps firmly on the front foot with his tidy movement and probing use of the ball.
There was more than a bit of fortune with the opener, however. In the 20th min, Ezekiel Kesar proved to be in the right place at the right time as Saint’s defender Chad Alonzo’s clearance ricocheted off him and ballooned into the net.
It was just rewards for Kesar, though, as his trickery and pace down the left forced new St Mary’s head coach, Kerry Jamerson, to replace young full back Nicholai Chan with his namesake Nickoli Bynoe. But the shuffle had little effect. Kesar and the roaming Isa Bramble were in the mood and forced the visitors to bunker deep in their third to deny the Naps shooting gallery.
Naps captain Levi Fernandez did have some work to do eventually as Dante Cooper unleashed from distance and forced a great save from the experienced custodian following a counter.
The second half wasn’t much better and St Mary’s were quickly brushed aside by the defending champions within the first few minutes after the interval.
Forward Seon Shippley took a great through ball into his stride and calmly slotted beyond ‘Saints’ custodian Jordan Bedaisee. Kesar got his second with a perfect finish into the far corner in the 57th minute, effectively killing off the game.
Naparima College (4-2-3-1): 1.Levi Fernandez (GK) (captain); 5.Atiba Lewis, 4.Tyrike Andrews, 12.Asukile Christopher, 15.Marvin Waldrop; 8.Kodel Frontin, 6.Shoaib Khan; 19.Isa Bramble (13.Jabari Lee), 17.Nathaniel Perouse, Ezekiel Kesar (10.Decklan Marcelle); 20.Seon Shippley (18.Jaden McKree).
Unused Substitutes: 25.Keane Subero (GK), 2.Taj Neptune, 11.Kern Cedeno, 16.Akil Johnson.
Coach: Angus Eve
St Mary’s College (4-4-2): 22.Jordan Bedaisee (GK); 2.Nickolai Chan (11.Nickoli Bynoe), 4.Chad Alonzo, 6.Xavier O’Garro, 20.Kaylam Seales; 12.Issac Harriott, 15.Dante Cooper, 7.Jermell Dosithee, 17.Tyrique Huggins; 9.Jaheim Ryan (13.Daylon Riley), 8.Kristoff Dingwell.
Unused Substitutes: 1.Joel Charran, 5.Brendon Lewis, 19.Jamal Thomas, 21.Harrison Parks, 24.Andrew Adonis.
Coach: Kerry Jamerson
Wired868 Man of the Match: Ezekiel Kesar (Naparima College)
SSFL Premier Division results
(Wednesday 11 September)
Naparima College 3 (Ezekiel Kesar 20, 57, Seon Shippley 53), St Mary’s College 0 at Lewis Street;
San Juan North 0, Pleasantville Secondary 1 (Alemo Sampson) at Bourg Mulatresse;
St Benedict’s College 1, Trinity East 2 at Mannie Ramjohn;
Trinity Moka 0, Presentation (San F’do) 6 (Nkosi Charles, Acelino Medford, Jaiye Sheppard, Dantaye Gilbert, Shakeem Cooper, Jardel Sinclair) at Moka;
Mucurapo East 6 (Malachi Celestine 15, 33, 41, Jaheim Patrick 22, Zion McLeod 81, 90+3), QRC 0 at Mucurapo Road;
Speyside Secondary 0, Malick Secondary 5 (Mamade Guerra , Zion Carpette, Jabari Williams) at Speyside;
St Augustine Secondary 1, St Anthony’s College 1 at St Augustine;
Carapichaima East are on a bye
Upcoming fixtures[All games kick off 3.30pm]
(Saturday 14 September)
St Anthony’s College v Speyside Secondary at Westmoorings;
Mucurapo East v Naparima College at Mucurapo Road;
Carapichaima East v Presentation (San F’do) at Carapichaima;
Pleasantville Secondary v QRC at Pleasantville;
Trinity East v St Augustine Secondary at Trincity;
St Mary’s College v St Benedict’s College at Serpentine Road;
Malick Secondary v Trinity Moka at TBD;
San Juan North are on a bye