THE SECONDARY Schools Football League (SSFL) will be holding its election of officers for the 2021-2023 term, virtually, on April 15.
Phillip Fraser has been serving as interim president since the resignation of William Wallace in 2020. He will be vying for the presidency, along with East Zone chairman Merere Gonzales and former South Zone chairman Derek West.
Gonzales was a former schoolteacher at Mt Hope Secondary and also served as a linesman (now assistant referee) during the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
“I have (over) 30 years of experience in the SSFL, since 1988,” said Gonzales on Tuesday. “I have served in so many different administrative arms of the SSFL and I believe, with my experience at the local, regional and international level, I can now carry the SSFL to a higher level based on my personality, my dynamism, my knowledge and expertise for us ensuring that the stakeholders, in this case the most important beneficiary the student-athlete, maximises the most benefits from the SSFL.”
Gonzales is optimistic that there will be a 2021 season, even though there is uncertainty over when sporting leagues will resume in TT. The 2020 season was cancelled due to the covid19 pandemic.
According to Gonzales, “As it is right now, we are moving with the expectation, and the intention is to plan a fixture (list) for the season. This is going to me my idea and the general council will have to make a decision on it as the main decision body (makers).
“We’ll plan with the understanding that there is going to be a season in September. We are being pro-active. However, we’ll put in place Plan B, C and D as the case might be, if Plan A doesn’t work.”
Gonzales added, “In the absence of having a season, the understanding and expectation is to try to still have activities to engage the student-athletes in various age groups, for example skills-challenge activities pertaining to football. There are various skills in the game that could be done zonal and even on the national level, and (we can) have some form of activity to keep them very positively occupied along the way.
“That is just with the understanding, if there is no season. But we are looking forward to having a season as we’ve had before (the pandemic). In the absence of that, we will be taking into consideration that there are other things that could be organised to engage the students, either on virtual means or physical means, in organised and well-structured numbers.”
In related news, the only other post which will be contested during the SSFL election is the first vice-president role, with Essiel Seecharan and Tevon La Rose the nominees.
Syandene Blackman-Walsh (second vice-president), Azaad Khan (general secretary/treasurer), Laurence Seepersad (assistant secretary – operations) and Gerald Elliott (assistant secretary – treasurer/administration) are all running unopposed in their respective positions.