Schoolboy football for October?
D'Cup, Manning Cup could begin within three monthsThursday, July 15, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
MONTEGO BAY, St James — DaCosta Cup football could return as early as October, as organisers, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), has commenced planning for the resumption of schoolboy football after the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Jamaica Observer West has learned.
Fresh from their successful staging of the national high school track and field championships in May, optimism was high that football would be allowed to be played in the first term of the new academic year.
ISSA has been having a series of meetings with school principals and coaches, the most recent was last week Wednesday where it was heard that just over 90 schools that are eligible to play in the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions had shown interest, including defending champions Jamaica College and Clarendon College, respectively.
Sixty-five schools had registered interest in the daCosta Cup competition including 18 from western Jamaica — Anchovy High, Cornwall College, Frome Technical, Godfrey Stewart High, Grange Hill, Green Pond, Herbert Morrison, Holland High, Irwin High, Knockalva Technical, Maldon High, Manning's School, Merlene Ottey High, Petersfield High, Rusea's High, Spot Valley High, St James High, and William Knibb Memorial.
Notable schools from western Jamaica that have not indicated their interest to participate include Cambridge High, Green Island High, Hopewell High, Cedric Titus, Muschett, Belmont Academy, and Maud McLeod High.
According to information that has been distributed among the schools and which the Observer West has access to, games will be played at “centralised secure” venues with “multiple games per day,” while games are to be played throughout the week.
ISSA, the Observer West was told, will waive minimum grades and attendance as a result of the impact of the pandemic.
A format had not been confirmed, the Observer West was told, but there could be 'super groups' of up to 10 teams for the daCosta Cup, with teams from adjoining parishes playing against each other, as opposed to the previous format where an effort was made to restrict first-round groups to a maximum six teams and play team in a close geographical proximity.
Whether fans will be allowed to attend pre-season and regular season games would be decided later and they would be held in keeping with the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).
Under the proposal, the pre-season games will be regulated by the organisers.
It is expected that the final confirmation of schools participating in the competitions will be known by early September.
It was heard at last Wednesday's meeting that the “official ISSA pre-season,” where tournaments will be allowed, will be between September 5 and October 8.
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