THE race for the KSAFA/Super League title and a place in the National Premier League play-offs begins in earnest today when the league kicks off with a full slate of matches.
In today's games last season's runner-up Rae Town entertain Police Nationals at Breezy Castle, Major League winners Allman/Woodford host August Town at Alpha School and UWI face Olympic Gardens at UWI Bowl, all starting at 3:30 pm.
In two late matches at the Constant Spring Complex, Rockfort play Greenwich Town at 5:30 pm and Barbican meet Shortwood at 8:30 pm.
According to KSAFA president Rudolph Speid, the late games at Constant Spring will be a weekly feature throughout the season, dubbed 'football extravaganza'.
He said this move is to help promote the league as well as boost revenue. "The Premier League has Monday Night live football and St Catherine has their Friday Night football.
"So we are trying our version... we will charge patrons to come in and see a double-header and we hope that they will truly enjoy it," he said.
He said it's also a chance for other Super League teams to see their competitors.
"In the league everybody plays the same time, so Super League teams don't really get to see other Super League teams play.
"With this Saturday Night feature everyone can go out and watch a game," he reasoned.
He said the association has raised a portion of the sum required to run the competition, but noted that they still need more to see the league through. There is no title sponsor.
"We have managed to secure $1.7 million, but the league costs about four million to run it.. so we are still looking the rest," he said.
Cavalier, who dominated the league for the last three seasons, are now competing in the Premier League and Speid expects that this will make the league more competitive.
Rae Town finished second last season and have pushed Cavalier to the line over the last two years.
And with the core of their team still intact this season, manager Damion Hylton is confident that they will be in the running for the title at the end of the campaign.
"We have retained 90 per cent of our team from last season and we look forward to what this season holds. We don't want to take on the tag of favourites, but we know we are going to be up there," he said.
He noted that financing has been a major obstacle in their preparation and he's hoping the team stays focused on the objective.
"The mindset is where we want it and we are about 70 per cent in our preparation, so Rae Town will be there," he said.
The east-Kingston team will look to last season's topscorer Stephen Squire, Mario McDonald, Glenford Brown and Damion Jackson to carry their hopes this season.
August Town, another perennial contender for the Super League, have also strengthen their squad for this campaign.
Team manager Marlon Small believes if all goes well August Town should take home the title and restore their Premier League status.
The team has rekindled ties with coach Christopher Bender, who carried them to the Premier League on their first visit, and has kept the core of its players.
And with the inclusion of experienced players like Oneil 'Chippy' McDonald, Kevin 'Pele' Wilson and Cavalier's Nigel Grant, he thinks they will be the team to beat.
"It's just a matter of getting the team to gel and I think that will happen during the course of the season," Small said.
Meanwhile, the Hi-Lyte/Major League continues with six games. Bull Bay play Pembroke Hall at Bull Pen; Maxfield host Molynes at Norman Manley School; Duhaney Park take on Cooreville at Baldwin Crescent; Browns Town travel to Queensborough to play Meadforest; New Kingston go up against Real Mona at Heroes Circle and Swallowfield play Constant Spring at Stadium East, all starting at 3:00 pm.