AN expanded version of the Green and Yellow Ali Cole Cup was due to kick off on Friday with the third staging of the high school, pre-season, schoolboy football competition at Excelsior High School.
The event was launched at the school at 137 Mountain View Avenue on Thursday.
The competition was first held in 2018 following the sudden passing of Allan Cole Junior, son of Jamaican football legend Allan "Skill" Cole.
Allan Cole Junior captained Excelsior to their last Manning Cup honour in 1989 and, after his passing, members of that winning team decided to stage the preseason schoolboy football tournament in his honour.
In 2018 the tournament featured eight Manning Cup teams and in 2019 it featured ten teams, five from the Manning Cup and five from the daCosta Cup. After a two-year hiatus due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, this year twelve teams will participate — six from the Manning Cup and six from the daCosta Cup.
According to Chris Bailey, president of the Green and Yellow Organisation, the tournament is set to redound to the benefit of all the participating schools.
"The tournament provides a great preseason soccer atmosphere, one in which all the participants, including the players and coaches, will get the opportunity to showcase their soccer abilities."
All the teams will receive equipment for participating in the competition this year.
Bailey, who scored the winning goal for Excelsior in the 1989 Manning Cup final, believes that this tournament will be of great benefit to the players from all 12 participating schools.
"Every player participating in the Ali Cup will get the opportunity to work on their individual game, as well as work with their teammates in a competitive environment, as well as have the opportunity to win an individual award such as the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Golden Boot and Best Goalkeeper. There will also be an award for the Most Disciplined Team," he disclosed.
Excelsior High won the first tournament in 2018 and successfully defended the title in 2019.
Meanwhile, CEO of the Green and Yellow Organisation Carlton Hammond praised Excelsior High School Principal Deanroy Bromfield for the support he has given to facilitate the competition each year.
The other participating schools this year which are hoping to get their first lien on the trophy from the Manning Cup are Camperdown, St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS), Dunoon Technical, Charlie Smith and Tivoli High. The teams from the daCosta Cup are Cornwall College, Clarendon College, Dinthill Technical, as well as Glenmuir High, Manchester High and Rusea's High schools.
— Dwayne Richards