The Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premiership is set to kick off on Wednesday, September 11, with record sponsorship of approximately TT$3 million in what is probably the fastest-rising high school football competition in the Caribbean.

For the first time in its history, Trinidad's SSFL will have five sponsors in major sponsor Digicel, Premiership title sponsors First Citizens Bank and Shell Trinidad & Tobago, Intercol title sponsor Coca-Cola, Malta Carib and sponsor/broadcaster SportsMax.

Outside of the major sponsors, the league is also benefitting from a number of other firsts.

President William Wallace stated that "this is the first time that the SSFL is benefitting from the addition of a gear sponsor, with Joma coming on board."

The increased level of sponsorship investment and increased coverage of the SSFL through broadcast on CNC-3 and SportsMax over the last two years has made it more attractive to different organisations around the Caribbean and worldwide.

President Wallace continued: "Of course, the presence of Joma has brought together ALL the the stakeholders, in the schools, the SSFL and the sponsors, which have agreed unanimously, for the first time, on uniformity across all jerseys for all participating schools in the Premiership.

Earlier this year, during the SSFL’s awards ceremony, one of the most famous footballing names out of Trinidad and Tobago, former national and English Premier League goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, was named the SSFL's ambassador sponsored by Digicel and SportsMax

The role means Hislop has been going around conducting clinics ahead of the competition’s start this year, as well as visiting schools to give inspirational addresses and serving as a mentor to the student athletes.

“I’m a product of the Secondary School’s Football League (SSFL).  I’ve always been a huge admirer of what it brings and what it offers to young men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago school system,” Hislop had said of his appointment earlier this year.

“I know how big a role it played in my own football development, so I’m more than happy to lend a hand in hopes that it can do the same for some of the others.”

Hislop will be watching keenly on Wednesday as a full slate of games kicks off the season, the big one for him, his alma mater St Mary's College up against last year's champion Naparima.

Shaka, like many in the Caribbean and around the world, will be able to take advantage of the innovative SportsMax App, which will be televising matches. If you are on personal computer, you may also watch your favourite teams at watch.sportsmax.tv.

Watching on the SportsMax app and on its website are additions to the broadcasts that will come from SportsMax, shown on its channel as well as on CNC3 and Ceen.

Olly McIntosh, President & CEO stated "The SSFL Premiership and Intercol now has 5 sponsors investing over TTD3M and a first time ever kit sponsor with uniformed jerseys. Matches are now broadcast on CNC-3 in Trinidad & Tobago and regionally and internationally on SportsMax. This is an incredible achievement by the SSFL over the last 4 seasons when Digicel and SportsMax became sponsors and the sponsorship for the competitions and exposure was much less. Glad all schools are on baord"

Defending champions Naparima College begin their campaign at their Lewis Street home against St Mary’s College, while runners up, Presentation College are away to Trinity College Moka.

In other games, San Juan North Secondary are at home to Pleasantville Secondary, St Benedict’s College take on Trinity East at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, while newcomers Malick Secondary go to Speyside Secondary, East Mucurapo play against Queens Royal College at Fatima and St Augustine Secondary are at home to St Anthony’s College. Carapichaima East Secondary are the team on a bye this week. All games begin at 3:30pm ECT.

 

SSFL Opening round schedule

 

San Juan North Secondary - Pleasantville Secondary @San Juan

St. Benedict’s College - Trinity East @Mannie Ramjohn

Speyside Secondary - Malick Secondary @Speyside

Trinity College Moka - Presentation College @Trinity Moka

East Mucurapo Secondary - Queens Royal College @Fatima

St. Augustine Secondary - St. Anthony’s College @St Augustine

Naparima College - St. Mary’s College @ Lewis Street

Carapichaima East Secondary – BYE

Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) ambassador Shaka Hislop has encouraged athletes to first and foremost enjoy the sport of football.

The 50-year-old former national player turned television pundit, is himself a former alumnus of the SSFL where he competed for St Mary’s College.  The former Newcastle goalkeeper has been brought on board this year to serve as an inspirational source and lodestar for players taking part in this year’s competition.

“That’s what I would continue to encourage everybody who plays, play because you enjoy it and you’ll see where your talent takes you. Don’t focus on what one person is doing because that’s an entirely different story, they have their own unique path,” Hislop told the T&T Newsday.

With several young players focused on Europe, Hislop also advised youngsters to look further home where the North American league could be a viable option.

“It continues to be a viable alternative.  You can also come through the secondary school level (in TT) to get into college football. I played because I enjoyed the game. I didn’t think I would have ever played professional, that came as I grew and developed.”

Former English Premier League (EPL) goalkeeper and television pundit Shaka Hislop has been appointed as an ambassador for the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL). 

The 49-year-old Hislop, who spent 10 years in the EPL’s top flight where he represented Newcastle and then West Ham is expected to play the role of mentor for burgeoning T&T schoolboy football talent.

According to Hislop, who attended St Mary’s College as a young player, claimed the decision to take up the position was a no-brainer.

“It was a pretty easy decision on my part.  I’m a product of the Secondary School’s Football League (SSFL).  I’ve always been a huge admirer of what it brings and what it offers to young men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago school system.

“I know how big a role it played in my own football development.  So I’m more than happy to lend a hand in hopes that it can do the same for some of the other,” he added.

 In his role as ambassador Hislop is expected to conduct clinics with coaches as well as visiting schools to give inspirational addresses.  At the end of the season, he will be selecting an All-Star team.  Hislop made some 26 appearances for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

SSFL president Williams Wallace promises big improvement for the 2019 season.  Big buzz felt around the league as former EPL keeper Shaka Hislop signs up to be league ambassador.

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