Schoolers' time again!
113 schools to contest 2014 ISSA/LIME Manning, daCosta Cup competitions
One hundred and thirteen schools will battle for schoolboy supremacy as the 2014 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) LIME Manning and daCosta Cup competitions were launched yesterday with some minor changes.
The Terra Nova Hotel once again hosted the press launch aired live by TVJ and it was announced that the long-standing two-legged Olivier Shield will be reduced to just one leg, set for December 6, to decide the all-island schoolboy champion.
"Over the years the daCosta Cup teams have complained that they have not been given a fair chance to compete in the Olivier Shield because they play the daCosta Cup final the Saturday, the Olivier Shield first leg on Wednesday and the following Saturday they would play the second leg. So they have three hard matches in one week," explained George Forbes, ISSA's Competitions officer.
"We looked at it and we thought there was some merit in that and we are saying we are going to look at it this year with one match. This year in Kingston and next year in the rural area," he added.
Manning Cup champions Jamaica College will kick start the season against Jonathan Grant High on September 6 at 2:00 pm at Catherine Hall Sports Complex in St James, while defending daCosta Cup champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) will open against BB Coke High at 4:00 pm before St James High tackle Green Pond High at 6:00 pm in the usual triple header in Montego Bay.
Seventy Five schools will participate in the rural area daCosta Cup and there will be a change in format with what was normally the quarter-final stage increased from eight to 16 teams.
In addition to the eight group winners, the runners-up will also advance into four groups of four with the winners qualifying for the semi-finals.
The Manning Cup format remains the same to be contested by 38 teams consisting of seven groups. Four zones will have five teams each, while the other three zones include six teams each.
The Manning Cup final is set for Saturday, November 22 at the National Stadium, while the daCosta Cup final will be held one week later at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex, irrespective of where the finalists are located.
Last year marked the beginning of title sponsor's, LIME's mission to "bring back the glory days" to schoolboy football with a whopping $150m five-year deal and Carlo Redwood, vice-president of marketing, declared it was a remarkable experience and new innovations are in the pipelines.
"It is hard to believe a year has gone so quickly. We enjoyed being in the centre of the excitement as we infused our LIME flavour to enhance the overall delivery of feature games and finals," noted Redwood.
Meanwhile, Dr Walton Small, president of ISSA, thanked the sponsors once again while imploring the fans to go out and buy the products of their organisations, so they will continue to support schoolboy football.
The Wolmer's Boys' School principal said he has no doubt that this year's competitions will be one to remember for a long time.
"I encourage all the stakeholders to be mindful of the fact that this is a schoolboy competition characterised by friendly rivalry. So fasten the proverbial seatbelt and enjoy the excitement of the 2014/15 competition," said Dr Small.