SSFL 2022: Siparia West host Arima North, CIC at home in Big 5 opener

Gems at Lajoya

Siparia West Secondary will host Arima North Secondary from 3.30pm on Saturday 29 October in the first confirmed Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Big Five fixture.

In the other match on the same day, St Mary’s College welcome the Central Zone champions to Serpentine Road from 3.30pm.

Arima North Secondary winger Devin Seales (centre) celebrates a goal against Holy Cross College at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 23 September 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Arima Araucans Academy)

At present, though, the Central title remains up for grabs with Miracle Ministries High School and Presentation College (Chaguanas) still running each other close. Likewise, on the Sister Isle, Bishop’s High School, Scarborough Secondary and Mason Hall Secondary can all still clinch the Tobago berth.

At stake for the five eventual zonal winners is three spots in the 2023 SSFL Premier Division competition.

For Arima North Secondary, they would hope it is a case of second time lucky—as they were edged out of a promotion spot on goal difference by Chaguanas North Secondary in 2019.

Goalkeeper Isaiah Diaz was an unused substitute two years ago while current head coach Lyndon Andrews was assistant to Wayne Sheppard. Both would hope to help complete the job this time around and get the “Dial Dynamos” into the top flight for the first time in over a decade.

Siparia West have never experienced the bright lights of the Premier Division. However, the last time their head coach and former Strike Squad standout Dexter “Peck” Francis took an unfancied school there, it was a certain Shiva Boys High School that introduced the country to gifted young players like the Garcia brothers—Levi and Judah—Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel, Yohannes Richardson and Denzil Smith.

Shiva Boys Hindu College playmaker Judah Garcia (left) beats St Mary’s College midfielder Daniel Conocchiari to the ball during 2015 SSFL action at Serpentine Road.
Garcia was 14 years old at the time.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

St Mary’s College have a familiar face on their technical area too, as they turned to veteran coach Michael Grayson for some of the tactical insight that saw him lift trophies at Arima and St Augustine Secondary over the years.

So far, so good for the “Saints”—as they easily held off Trinity College (Moka) to take the North Zone trophy.

Now to see whose form holds for the Big 5.

St Mary’s College captain Harrison Parks (right) tries to make room for himself during North Zone action against Mucurapo West Secondary at Serpentine Road on 11 October 2022.
CIC won 4-1.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

There will be a pause after Saturday’s opening round of Big 5 matches, due to inter-island travel difficulties resulting from the Tobago Carnival. Rounds two to five, according to the SSFL executive, will be played “after all the Big 5 Qualifiers have completed their Intercol Schedule”.

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