Some 150 teachers and coaches who were recently introduced to the Dutch ‘C’ licence in a partnership between the T&T Football Association (TTFA) and Atlantic LNG, will put their new skills to the test in the eighth edition of the Atlantic Primary Schools Football League, which was launched yesterday.
This year sees a milestone change with the introduction of the Under-12 developmental competition, which was implemented to create more direct involvement, with less players (seven) and a smaller pitch. It remains with the two Under-15 Boys and Girls divisions.
TTFA technical director Anton Corneal, who was present at the launch yesterday said the format has been proven successful after its introduction in national senior training sessions in 2005, by then head coach Leo Beenhakker, who is now the director of football at the association. The certificates awarded to the successful candidates were distributed yesterday at the launch. It was part of the Atlantic Coaching Excellence (ACE) Programme, which was launched in January, and has also benefitted 163 cricket coaches.
“Primary schools’ football is an integral part of a large development and is a part that has been ignored for many years; not just the rules and regulations, but the education of coaches. And for us now to sit back and think ‘we have educated 150 coaches in T&T’, I think you will see that fruit (bearing) in eight to 10 years.”
Corneal revealed that four of the 150 coaches will have the opportunity in November to participate in a Fifa course, which will be conducted by a licenced Fifa instructor.
He also said he was buoyed by changes of rules and regulations implemented by the league this year, which he said was in keeping with the TTFA’s plans for development, and is also consistent with Fifa’s mandate. “This is what grooms young players,” said Corneal.
The highest level in the competition is the Under-15 division which comprises two 30-minute halves, in a seven-a-side format (including goalkeeper). The duration of the Girls Under-15 matches are 40 minutes, while the Under-12 division plays for 30 minute. The Under-12 division, which is only open to boys will see flying substitutes, while both other divisions will allow for five substitutions per match. In all, 12 players may be on a roster per match. All divisions will use size four footballs.
Apart from Atlantic, the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT) has also shown keen interest in the Primary Schools League with the distribution of 30 goalposts (six feet by six feet) at an estimated cost of $90,000.
The Port-of-Spain and Environs division, opened yesterday immediately after the launch with perennial winner of the Under-15 division, Carenage Boys opening the Under-12 division with a 1-0 win over Eastern Boys Government. Ten-year-old Jahriell Nunes scored the winner. The Girls Under-15 division also got off to a start with St Agnes RC and Diamond Vale opening. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Latisha Jack (St Agnes) in the seventh minute and Renne Rampaul (Diamond Vale) in the 12th.