Jaiye Sheppard (Presentation College, San Fernando) and Alexcia Ali (Pleasantville Secondary) were crowned male and female Secondary Schools’ Football League (SSFL) Players of the Year respectively at the 2019 Awards and Presentation Ceremony, which kicked off at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
Both players were instrumental in leading their respective teams to victory at last year’s Coca Cola National Intercol Tournament. Sheppard led the charge for the SSFL’s top five male athletes and was joined by Isa Bramble (Naparima College), Emmanuel John (San Juan North), Josiah King (Carapichaima East) and Tyrese Spicer (St. Augustine).
Additionally, Ali, hoisted the tournament’s most prestigious individual prize for a second consecutive year. The 19-year old was joined in league’s top five female performers by teammates Latifha Pascall and Tsai-Anne Fernandez, Celine Loraine (Signal Hill) and Afiyah Cornwall.
Speaking with Newsday following the presentation, Sheppard was elated with his capture of the tournament’s most prestigious individual prize and remains optimistic for the 2020 season. According to Presentation coach, Sean Cooper, Sheppard will be placed with responsibility of captaining the title-winning squad when the competition resumes in September.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win this award and I would not have been here without the works of Presentation’s coaching staff and my teammates,” he said. “We had a great season, bolstered by a younger group of players. Altogether, we decided to work hard and God gave us what we deserved. I am proud, not only of myself, but what our team was able to achieve as a unit.”
Meanwhile, after two years of total dominance in the Coca Cola Girls Intercol, Pleasantville’s Ali concludes her SSFL career at the end of the academic year. However, having captured back-to-back Girls Intercol and Player of the Year awards, she leaves contented.
“It’s a great achievement for me on a personal level and I’m very happy for what I have achieved throughout my stay at Pleasantville. I thank my mother, coaches, teachers and teammates for always pushing me to do my best. Going forward, I would like to get a sport scholarship and play football abroad.”
Team and individual accolades were also presented to top zonal performers in the Form One/Under-13 Boys (Fruta); Giants Division/Under-14 Boys, Under-15 Girls, Under-16 Boys and Under-20 Boys and Girls (Malta); Championship Division Boys and Girls, Big Five, Premiership and National (Shell/First Citizens Bank).
In his address to the multitude of student-athletes, coaches and teachers at the ceremony, president of the TT Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace, credited the dedicated efforts of those who contested last season’s grueling competition.
The newly-appointed TTFA head also held one minute’s silence in memory of former local football presidents, Oliver Camps and Raymond Tim-Kee, ex-national players Jason Marcano and Shahdon Winchester, all of who passed away last year. Strangely enough, mere hours before the start of the awards, the national football fraternity was again plunged into mourning as former National Under-17 captain, Roderick Anthony, died in a car crash in Tobago.
“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard,” said the former SSFL leader. “Give one hundred percent all the time. You will not only improve your game but also motivate those around you.”
The feature address was delivered by former National senior men and youth team coach, Hannibal Najjar, who urged the youngsters to maintain focus on their personal, sporting and academic goals.
Other dignitaries present were former player Everald ‘Gally’ Cummings, ex-FIFA referee/instructor Osmond Downer, Ministry of Education advisor Cheryl Ann Wilkinson, Coca Cola senior marketing manager Maritza Ballack, Fruta marketing manager Cindy Gafoor-Lares, Malta brand manager Kenny Maharaj, Shell community liaison officer Oji Borel, First Citizens Bank manager Baldath Maharaj, Central Zone chairman Tara Bansi and other members of the TTFA executive.
2019 SSFL HONOUR ROLL
All Star Males
Goalkeepers; Isaiah William (Presentation), Levi Fernandez (Naparima), Emmanuel John (San Juan North)
Defenders; Luke Charles, Justin Cornwall (both of Presentation), Tyrike Andrews, Atiba Lewis (both of Naparima), Brandon St Clair (Carapichaima East), Elisha Greene (San Juan North)
Midfielders; Aleem Barclay, Ackeel Jacob (both of Presentation), Shoaib Khan (Naparima), Josiah King, Keilon Burnett (both of Carapichaima East), Trent Weekes (St. Anthony’s), Terrell Wiley (Trinity East), Daniel David (Eaat Mucurapo)
Forwards; Jaiye Sheppard (Presentation), Isa Bramble, Seon Shippley (both of Naparima), Akeem Mason (St. Benedict’s), Tyrese Spicer (St. Augustine), Zion McLeod (East Mucurapo), Kai Phillip (St. Anthony’s), Adriel George (Speyside)
All Star Females
Goalkeepers – Chelsea Ramnath (Fyzabad), Tishana Orosco (Valencia)
Defenders – Tsai-Anne Fernandez, Kayla Garcia, Corysa Joseph (all of Pleasantville), Derisha Bristol, Jelese Alexander (both of Signal Hill), Leah Massiah (Carapichaima East)
Midfielders – Chrissy Mitchell, Aaliyah Pascall, Latifha Pascall (all of Pleasantville), Ashante Wilson-Campbell (Signal Hill), Kayla Baboolal, Makeba Moran (both of Five Rivers), Charlize Hood (Holy Name Convent, PoS), Akela Gomez (San Juan North)
Forwards – Alexcia Ali (Pleasantville), Latoya Cayenne (Fyzabad), Celine Loraine, Aaliyah Alvarez, Tiah Crichlow (all of Signal Hill), Afiyah Cornwall (Carapichaima East), Luann Craig (Five Rivers), Havana Ramdeen (Holy Name Convent, PoS), Monesia Mejias (El Dorado East)
National Intercol Boys – 1. Presentation College, 2. San Juan North, 3. Carapichaima East
National Intercol Girls – 1. Pleasantville, 2. Signal Hill, 3. Carapichaima East
Zonal Intercol Boys – Carapichaima East (Central), San Juan North (East), St. Anthony’s (North), Presentation College (South)
Zonal Intercol Girls – 1. Carapichaima East (Central), 2. Five Rivers (East), Holy Name Convent PoS), 4. Pleasantville (South)
SSFL Premiership – 1. Naparima College, 2. Presentation College, 3. St. Anthony’s
SSFL Championship Division Boys Zonal – Chaguanas North (Central), Arima North (East), Fatima (North), Moruga (South)
SSFL Championship Division Girls Zonal – Carapichaima East (Central), Five Rivers (East), Holy Name Convent PoS), 4. Pleasantville (South)
National Titles – St. Benedict’s (Form One), U-14 Boys Trinity East, Un-16 Boys St. Anthony’s, U-20 Boys Presentation College, U-15 Girls Five Rivers, U-20 St. Augustine
Senior Division U-20 Boys – Knockout – Chaguanas North (Central), San Juan North (East), Malick (North), Presentation (South) – League – ASJA Charlieville (Central), San Juan North (East), Malick (North), Presentation (South)
Senior Division U-20 Girls – Knockout – St. Augustine (East), Barrackpore East (South) – League – St. Augustine (East), Barrackpore East (South)