13th edition of David “Wagga” Hunt Football Classic, a celebration of legacy and excellence, kicks off on Saturday, August 12

By Sports Desk August 10, 2023
Kingston College and Calabar High School teams. Kingston College and Calabar High School teams. Dwayne Richards

 In a celebration of legacy and the beautiful game, the 13th edition of the David “Wagga” Hunt (DWH) Football Classic is set to ignite the Mona Bowl, UWI in St. Andrew, Jamaica, on Saturday, August 12, 2023. A thrilling triple-header will kick off at 2:00 p.m., promising a day of football fervor and camaraderie that transcends rivalries.

 Amid the picturesque backdrop of the Mona Bowl, fans will witness a captivating display of football prowess, kicking off with a scintillating clash between Shortwood United FC, a 2023 KSAFA Major League Semi-Finalist, and JDF, the 2023 KSAFA Major League Winner. This encounter is anticipated to set the stage ablaze, setting the tone for an electrifying afternoon.

 As the sun dips below the horizon, the stage will be set for the masters’ game, pitting Pelicans FC against the Kingston Commissioners. It's a clash that promises nostalgia and passion, as seasoned players bring their skills to the field.

 However, the crescendo of the afternoon will resonate through the much-anticipated annual showdown for the DWH trophy. Kingston College (KC) and Calabar High School (C’bar) will lock horns in a Manning Cup clash that transcends mere competition. This timeless rivalry holds a special place in the hearts of fans, with the winner not only claiming victory but also embodying the spirit of unity and respect.

 A significant highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Paulette C. Rhoden trophy to the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Manning Cup game. The late Mrs. Rhoden, former patron of the event, left an indelible mark on the football community. This year, Ambassador Stewart Stephenson, Past-President of KSAFA, assumes the role of patron, adding to the event's prestige.

 Amidst the excitement, the classic will pay homage to the late Bancroft "Banky" Gordon, a true football luminary. As a former Excelsior High School Manning Cup player, his legacy transcended the field, with academic brilliance and a humanitarian spirit. His memory will be etched into the proceedings, with a plaque presented to Shortwood United FC, a team he graced with his exceptional talent.

 The DWH Football Classic isn't just a day of thrilling football; it's a testament to the power of sport in shaping lives. Established in 2009 by the David "Wagga" Hunt Scholarship Foundation, the event is both commemorative and a fundraiser. It serves to honor the legacy of David "Wagga" Hunt, an alumnus of Kingston College, who revived Calabar High School's football program, guiding them to their first Manning Cup title in 28 years.

As the games unfold, the spirit of unity and camaraderie will flourish. The mantra "we can be rivals but not enemies," echoes the late David "Wagga" Hunt's philosophy, fostering a culture of friendly rivalry and respect. Beyond football, Hunt's legacy extends to various sporting disciplines, including track and field, where he pioneered the Champs Preview Magazine, chronicling the achievements of athletes at the ISSA High School Boys & Girls Championships.

The younger brother of David Hunt, Christopher Hunt, Co-Chair of the foundation, shared his pride in the Foundation's accomplishments. In an exciting development, the annual scholarship disbursement per recipient will increase from J$100,000 to J$150,000 in the upcoming school year, along with grants of J$500,000 to each school for a project of their choice.

The anticipation is palpable, as Jamaica-based Co-Chair Arnold "Dullo" McDonald expressed gratitude to faithful supporters over the years. Overcoming the challenges of the past three years, the event is set to shine brighter than ever. The afternoon promises to be an unforgettable blend of football, memories, and shared purpose, a fitting tribute to a great Jamaican and a meaningful cause.

Corporate donors like VM Group, Supreme Ventures Limited, Proven Wealth, and overseas sponsors like GraceKennedy Foods (USA), Steuart Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and Spencer Financial have rallied behind the foundation's mission.

The public is invited to partake in this afternoon of camaraderie, with a contribution of J$1,000 for adults and J$500 for students with ID.



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