Tue | Jan 25, 2022

‘No tier system needed’

ISSA stands by current schoolboy football competition structure

Published:Tuesday | November 30, 2021 | 12:10 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Mona High School’s Keneldo Brown (left) battles Papine High School’s Tayshawn Forrest during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at Ashenheim Stadium on Thursday, November 18.
Mona High School’s Keneldo Brown (left) battles Papine High School’s Tayshawn Forrest during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at Ashenheim Stadium on Thursday, November 18.
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The big scorelines in this season’s ISSA schoolboy football competitions have once again led to calls for a second-tier competition or a process of elimination for the very weak teams. St Catherine High School clobbered St Mary’s College 26-0...

The big scorelines in this season’s ISSA schoolboy football competitions have once again led to calls for a second-tier competition or a process of elimination for the very weak teams.

St Catherine High School clobbered St Mary’s College 26-0 earlier this month in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup, while also in that group, Mona High School defeated Papine High School 10-0, then St Mary’s 13-0. St Mary responded to those defeats by withdrawing from the competition.

B.B. Coke High School also thrashed Mount St Joseph High School 20-0 in the ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup.

However, ISSA president Keith Wellington says big scores have been part of the competitions since their inception and things are no different from how they were 10 or 50 years ago. For this reason, ISSA sees no need for a change.

He says that the purpose of the competition is not solely to foster competition, and that it would not fit into their ideals of interaction and socialisation of schools with varying backgrounds.

“The amount of big scores this year is no more than it normally is,” Wellington told The Gleaner. “We have not had many more big scores this year than we normally have, so nothing new has happened that has not happened over the decades that we have had schoolboy football.

“From 1910 when schools were competing, there were scores of a similar nature. So the issue of tiered competition is not best for what we are trying to accomplish, which is providing opportunities to socialise and interact with peers of other schools, who are different in nature and provide different experiences.”

Wellington says that it would be difficult to establish a tier system when the performance of a school can fluctuate year-to-year.

He mentioned that schools such as Glenmuir High School, that use to suffer heavy losses in the past, have improved and eventually became champions.

“We have to recognise that these competitions are not professional leagues, they are amateur competitions,” Wellington said. “Even below a normal amateur league.

“If the be all and end all was to have a competitive competition, then what is being posited may be regarded as appropriate, but the competitive nature of the competition isn’t the endgame for us.

“I don’t think the scores we are seeing is reason to talk about a tier competition.”

Wellington says that ISSA has attempted the tier system with urban area schoolboy cricket, which he says was without success, as it is difficult to attract financial support.

“From a financial perspective, sponsors don’t want to sponsor a distant relative,” he said. “So it would not make economic sense to try.

“We also have to bear in mind that these are schools and they may be good one year and has no team the other year.

“So to find a mechanism that classify a school as a division two, as opposed to a division one would be difficult.

“Students or schools wouldn’t want to be classified as big schools or little schools. So it will continue for the foreseeable future, as we see no pressing desire to change.

“For me, it is about the school administration making a decision as to how prepared or how much resource they have available to properly prepare for a competition.

“We have a competition where everybody starts out the same and the weaker ones are left behind.

“So we really have something of a tiered competition, but it is played in one league.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com