William Wallace, the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president, has called again for all stakeholders in the sport of football to come together and pave a way for the nation's young footballers and for the sake of the game.
Wallace's call came at a press conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Couva yesterday, ahead of today's SSFL Coca Cola National Intercol finals between Naparima College and San Juan North (Boys) at 5 pm, following the girls' match between Pleasantville Secondary and Signal Hill Secondary from 3 pm.
The schools' football boss said he was particularly thankful his league has carried the torch in the midst of an economic situation which saw other leagues fold.
Wallace pleaded with all with a similar interest in the game to sit and use one another's strength for the sake of the game and provide an avenue for the young people in T&T. He believes his league, despite garnering overwhelming support in the past, is in need of a strong entity or someone who can continue to hold the hands of the nation's young footballers, noting the corridors of the schools or colleges, is not enough.
The league sadly has seen the demise of a number of its ex-players due to the out-of-control crime situation, the latest being Marcus Gomes, a former Arima North Secondary and national Under-20 midfielder, who was killed in Maloney last week.
"We are striving to create a pathway. Understanding what our society is like now for these youngsters, but it's a pathway that cannot be stopped when they walk through the doors of the schools and colleges. We need someone or some organisation or entity, to continue to hold their hands and continue to walk with them," Wallace said. "This is what the SSFL is all about."
This year the League also sought to assist players to receive scholarships through US company GPS, which comprises a number of US Colleges and University scouts that will be on hand for an SSFL College Combined football match on Saturday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
The scouts will be in search of 30 young students/players to take abroad from two matches. After Saturday's Combined match, there will be another match in the sister-isle of Tobago on Monday.
These matches will be followed by the annual North versus South All-Star football match the following weekend for both boys and girls.
Meanwhile, Wallace also boasted that this year, the results of all the matches were settled on the football field and not in the Boardroom, as in previous years.