Start of schoolboy football further delayed due to spike in COVID-19 casesThursday, September 23, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
The wait for the start of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) schoolboys' football season could be pushed back at least a month as the organisers are still awaiting the go-ahead to restart the daCosta and Manning Cup football competitions.
Plans were well advanced for an October start after the resumption of school earlier this month, but they have been put on hold due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the island.
ISSA is to present a proposal to the Government by next Monday, September 27, with the intention for the season to kick off in November.
President of ISSA Keith Wellington told the Jamaica Observer West last week that “this term the plans are still to resume school sports.”
After the cancellation of football along with other sports last year after the novel coronavirus was discovered on the island in early March 2020, ISSA was able to successfully stage the high school track and field championships in May this year.
Additionally, all four regional track and field championships were held, albeit, they were all condensed to one-day events.
Wellington said at this time ISSA would not be able to speak to the details of the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup competitions, stressing that “it will all depend on the number of schools that will take part, only then can we start talking about format and other details.”
He said the association is hoping to stay as close as possible to playing the first round of the Manning Cup competition on a geographical basis — that is, schools that are close to each other — and for the rural area daCosta Cup, schools in the same parish.
“We hope that we will have enough schools to keep the original zones as this would also help with safety purposes as we won't have schools travelling far to play games,” he said.
Initially, there was a proposal to play games at 'centralised venues' where “everything could be controlled,” the same that pertains in the Jamaica Premier League, with all games being played at the Jamaica Football Federation Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at UWI-Mona.
If the competition is allowed to start, it would run into the January term and for the first time both football and track and field athletics, the two biggest sports organised by ISSA, could overlap.
The track and field season usually starts in January and the Observer West has learned that the ISSA track and field championships that is usually held in March could be pushed back a month to April.
'Champs', as it has been nicknamed, was held in May this year.
Earlier this year, it was heard that just over 90 schools which usually participate in the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions had shown interest in competing in the competitions, including defending champions Jamaica College and Clarendon College, respectively.
Sixty-five schools had registered interest in the daCosta Cup competition and 28 in the Manning Cup.