SSFL 23: Chaves and J’Eleisha scoop up MVP crowns as SSFL names all-star picks


Fatima College forward Michael Chaves and Scarborough Secondary forward J’Eleisha Alexander scooped up the prestigious Most Valuable Player awards yesterday, as the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) toasted its top talent for the 2023 season at the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce.

Chaves, a Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-20 player, helped Fatima College to their first Premier Division trophy last October, while Alexander, a Women’s National Under-20 player, shone in Scarborough’s capture of the National Big Five title.

Fatima College forward Michael Chaves (right) collects his 2023 SSFL MVP award from schools football president Merere Gonzales at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Chaves got the nod over former Fatima College teammate Christian Bailey, San Juan North Secondary attacker Lindell Sween, Presentation College (San Fernando) goalkeeper Kanye Lazarus, and Malick Secondary forward Oba Samuel, who comprised the SSFL’s top five male players.

Samuel, incidentally, led the SSFL scoring charts with 17 Premier Division goals.

In the female category, Alexander had two teammates for company among the top five players, as attacker Talia Martin and Dextra Harris were also singled out by the SSFL.

Five Rivers Secondary midfielder Luann Craig and Pleasantville Secondary forward Nikita Gosine completed the shortlist.

Scarborough Secondary star forward J’Eleisha Alexander shows off her silverware during the 2023 SSFL Awards Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

It was Alexander’s second successive SSFL MVP gong.

Naturally, there were some debatable points on the day.

Bailey and Malick Secondary students J’lon Matthews, both attacking midfielders for their schools, were somehow listed among the SSFL’s top five defenders in 2023.

It denied two spots to bonafide defenders, and San Juan North’s Joshua Lewis, Arima North Secondary’s Ability Hazel, Fatima College’s Jaden Williams, St Anthony’s College’s Russel Francois, Trinity College East’s Nicholas Whiteman and the Presentation duo of Cody Cooper and Duhrell Young would all feel unlucky to have missed out.

Fatima College attacking midfielder Aidan De Gannes (background) keeps watch on Arima North Secondary midfielder Theron O’ Brien during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 14 October 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Arima Araucans Academy

Naparima College anchor Jaron Pascall, Fatima’s Aidan De Gannes, and Arima North’s Theron O’Brien might feel similarly aggrieved to miss out on selection among the Premier Division’s top midfielders.

And Pleasantville Secondary’s Kelon Williams, Presentation’s Vaughn Clement and St Anthony’s College’s Theo Crovador could make a case for inclusion among the league’s top forwards too.

The Boys SSFL All Star Team comprised:

The 2023 SSFL All-Star players are recognised during the 2023 SSFL Awards Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Goalkeepers: Tristan Edwards (Fatima College), Kanye Lazarus (Presentation College, San Fernando), Thane Devenish (St Benedict’s College),

Defenders: Akil Henry (Arima North Secondary), Lyshaun Morris (St Benedict’s College), Josiah Cooper (Naparima College), Christian Bailey (Fatima College), J’lon Matthews (Malick Secondary),

Midfielders: Jeremiah Niles, Josiah Ochoa (both St Benedict’s College), Nathan Quashie (San Juan North Secondary), Aalon Wilson-Wright (St Anthony’s College), Tau Lamsee (Queen’s Royal College),

San Juan North attacker Lindell Sween (centre) tries to wriggle free of Naparima College opponents Jkwon Bailey (left) and Jaron Pascall during SSFL Premier Division action in Bourg Mulatresse on 14 October 2023.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Forwards: Lindell Sween (San Juan North Secondary), Kyle Phillip (St Mary’s College), Oba Samuel (Malick Secondary), Malachi Webb (St Benedict’s College), Michael Chaves (Fatima College).

Top Five Players: Michael Chaves, Christian Bailey (both Fatima College), Lindell Sween (San Juan North Secondary), Kanye Lazarus (Presentation College, San Fernando), Oba Samuel (Malick Secondary).

Player of the Year: Michael Chaves (Fatima College)

Fatima College attacker Michael Chaves (centre, yellow shirt) is crowded out by Presentation College defenders during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 4 October 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

The Girls SSFL All-Star Team consisted of:

Goalkeepers: Janike Ramoutar (Pleasantville Secondary), Kimberlynn Rampersad (Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School), Shivelle Williams (Scarborough Secondary),

Defenders: Mikaela Yearwood (St Joseph’s Convent, POS), Mikalah Guerero (Pleasantville Secondary), Kiana Sandy (Five Rivers Secondary), Naomi Scott (Signal Hill Secondary), Dextra Harris (Scarborough Secondary),

The 2023 Girl SSFL All-Star team pose for the camera during the 2023 SSFL Awards Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Midfielders: Orielle Martin (Bishop Anstey East), Jewel Benjamin (Miracle Ministries PHS), Luann Craig (Five Rivers Secondary), Natalia Gosine (Pleasantville Secondary), Makaylah Robley (Scarborough Secondary), Kellecia Taylor (Signal Hill Secondary),

Forwards: J’Eleisha Alexander, Talia Martin (both Scarborough Secondary), Nikita Gosine (Pleasantville Secondary), Myeisha Cox (San Juan North Secondary).

Top Five Players: Luann Craig (Five Rivers Secondary), Nikita Gosine (Pleasantville Secondary), J’Eleisha Alexander, Talia Martin, Dextra Harris (all Scarborough Secondary).

SSFL president Merere Gonzales (left) hands Scarborough Secondary forward J’Eleisha Alexander the 2023 SSFL MVP award during the SSFL Awards Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Player of the Year: J’Eleisha Alexander (Scarborough Secondary)

In the race to silverware, Fatima College again were unrivalled among the football schools with nine trophies in the male categories: three national, and six zonal.

Arima North and St Benedict’s College managed the second biggest stash with six trophies each—St Benedict’s snared one national trophy (Senior Division) and five zonal titles, while all of Arima’s trophies came from their zone.

Arima North Secondary utility player Criston Gomez (left) collects one of his school’s six zonal trophies from iconic former Trinidad and Tobago football star Steve David during the 2023 SSFL Award Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

In the female category, Pleasantville, Scarborough and Five Rivers snared four titles each, with the former two managing one national trophy apiece.

SSFL Honours List

Premier Division champions: Fatima College

National Intercol champions: Presentation College (San Fernando)

Fatima College captain Jaden Williams (centre, bareback) celebrates his school’s first national league title in 45 years, after their 2-1 win over Naparima College at Lewis Street on 28 October 2023.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Intercol zonal winners

  • Central Zone: Chaguanas North Secondary
  • East Zone: Arima North Secondary
  • North Zone: St Anthony’s College
  • South Zone: Presentation College (San Fernando)
  • Tobago Zone: Speyside High
Presentation College (San F’do) players and staff celebrate after beating St Anthony’s College to the 2023 National Intercol title at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 7 December 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

National Big Five champions: St Augustine Secondary

Championship Division winners

  • Central Zone: Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School
  • East Zone: St Augustine Secondary
  • North Zone: Blanchisseuse Secondary
  • South Zone: Moruga Secondary
  • Tobago Zone: Signal Hill Secondary
St Augustine Secondary playmaker Giovanni Hospedales (second from left) silences Edinburgh 500 while his teammates (from left) Jahmarley Caleb, Nkosi Fuentes and Zion Dannett share their approval during their Big 5 contest with MMPHS at Edinburgh 500 on 8 March 2024.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Senior Division

National champion: St Benedict’s College

Zonal winners

  • Central Zone: Marabella South Secondary
  • East Zone: Hillview College
  • North Zone: Fatima College
  • South Zone: St Benedict’s College
Fatima College flanker Christian Bailey (bottom) loses his footing after a challenge by St Benedict’s College player Kaylon Cayenne during NGC SSFL Super Cup action against St Benedict’s College at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 9 September 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Zonal Knockout champs

  • East Zone: Arima North Secondary
  • North Zone: St Anthony’s College
  • South Zone: Presentation College (San Fernando)
Arima North Secondary captain Jemaul Ashing (right) collects the 2023 East Zone Intercol trophy during the SSFL Awards Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Under-16

National League champion: Fatima College

Zonal Champions

  • Central Zone: Chaguanas North Secondary
  • East Zone: Arima North Secondary
  • North Zone: Fatima College
  • South Zone: St Benedict’s College
  • Tobago Zone: Speyside High
Fatima College attacker Jahaem Bailey (foreground) shoots for goal while Arima North Secondary defender Ezekiel Ramdialsingh looks on during their Trinidad U-16 semifinal clash at Fatima College grounds on 18 November 2023.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Knock Out

  • East Zone: Arima North Secondary
  • North Zone: Fatima College
  • South Zone: St Benedict’s College
Presentation College (San Fernando) players (from left) Duhrell Young, Vaughn Clement, Kanye Lazarus and Cody Cooper pose with the 2023 Coca Cola National Intercol trophy during the SSFL Awards Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Under-14

National League champion: Naparima College

Zonal winners

  • Central Zone: Presentation College (Chaguanas)
  • East Zone: Arima North Secondary
  • North Zone: Queen’s Royal College
  • South Zone: Naparima College
  • Tobago Zone: Signal Hill Secondary
Naparima College players celebrate clinching the Trinidad Under-14 crown after a 7-1 win away to Arima North Secondary on 27 November 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Knock Out

  • East Zone: Arima North Secondary
  • North Zone: Fatima College
  • South Zone: Naparima College

Under-13/Form One

National League champion: Fatima College

Zonal winners

  • East Zone: Trinity College East
  • North Zone: Fatima College
  • South Zone: St Benedict’s College
  • Tobago Zone: Signal Hill Secondary
Malick Secondary attacker J’lon Matthews (right) and Fatima College winger Christian Bailey (centre) were named among the SSFL’s top five defenders during the 2023 SSFL Award Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Knock Out

  • East Zone: Trinity College East
  • North Zone: Fatima College
  • South Zone: St Benedict’s College
Soca star Nailah Blackman (yellow dress) performs alongside 2023 National Intercol winners Presentation College (San Fernando) and Pleasantville Secondary at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 7 December 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

Girls Honours Row

National Big Five champs: Scarborough Secondary

Championship Division winners

  • Central Zone: Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School
  • East Zone: Five Rivers Secondary
  • North Zone: St Joseph’s Convent (POS)
  • South Zone: Pleasantville Secondary
  • Tobago Zone: Scarborough Secondary
St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) attacker Scarlett Cole collects a zonal trophy for her team during the 2023 SSFL Award Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

National Intercol champions: Pleasantville Secondary

Intercol zonal winners

  • Central Zone: Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School
  • East Zone: Five Rivers Secondary
  • North Zone: St Joseph’s Convent (POS)
  • South Zone: Pleasantville Secondary
  • Tobago Zone: Scarborough Secondary
Pleasantville Secondary players pose with the 2023 Coca Cola Girls National Intercol trophy during the 2023 SSFL Award Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Senior Division

East Zone League winner: St Joseph Secondary

East Zone KO winner: Sangre Grande Secondary

Under-15

National champion: Signal Hill Secondary

League winners

  • East Zone: Five Rivers Secondary
  • North Zone: St Joseph’s Convent (POS)
  • South Zone: Pleasantville Secondary
  • Tobago Zone: Signal Hill Secondary
SSFL executive members Laurence Seepersad (left) and Gerald Elliot share notes during the 2023 SSFL Award Ceremony at the Couva Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce on 18 April 2024.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Wired868

Knockout winners

  • East Zone: Five Rivers Secondary
  • North Zone: St Joseph’s Convent (POS)
  • South Zone: Pleasantville Secondary
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