It had all the fanfare as customary for the past 23 years; all the various media houses were present, sponsors and Government, but only this time around, it’s for school’s football as Kashif and Shanghai launched its inaugural Secondary School tournament at the Pegasus Hotel on Thursday.
Twenty Four teams, drawn from across Guyana will battle in the “win or go home” formatted tournament that kicks off on December 8 and concludes on January 1 at the Guyana National Stadium.
The schools were selected based on the outcome of the annual Digicel Schools Football tournament and the prizes will mirror that of the previous senior Kashif and Shanghai tournaments.
Co-Director Kashif Muhammad stated the winning school will receive $1M, 75% of which must go towards a sports oriented project identified by the school.
Second through fourth are confirmed to be the recipients of $750,000, $500,000 and $250,000 respectively, and 25% of it must go to a project of the school’s choice.
The player adjudged the Most Valuable (MVP) apart from receiving a Laptop will also get the opportunity to have a one month stint with a team in the Trinidad and Tobago Professional League.
“This is a new challenge for us” said Muhammad, adding “we go forward offering the assurance that our young players will enjoy conditions no less favourable than those that have been enjoyed by the senior players over the years; except of course that we intend to treat this event as part of the process of helping to provide the youngsters with a rounded education”
Chief Education Officer (CEO) Olato Sam has pledged the Ministry of Education’s fullest support and has pointed out the importance it would play just like the other tournaments, in helping to bring a balance between sports and Education.
“As you’re all aware over the past year we’ve seen an increase in the overall number of entities coming forward to support athletic initiative in our system and this is a plus for our education sector because now we have a full calendar year for football at all levels. I think it’s time now for us to use football as a catalyst to bring together the other key components to help mold student athletes” the Education CEO noted.
Ansa McAl under there Smalta and Tropical Rhythm brand, Muhammad’s Enterprise, Pepsi and Chico Sweets are so far the main sponsors of the event.
“We at Ansa McAl believes that this is a great step towards the direction of restoring and helping to rebuild football in our country” noted Darshnie Yussuf, Ansa McAl Public Relations Officer.
She further added that “there needs to be continuous growth in the sport to get back our Golden Jaguars on top again and that is what we are about and glad to be part of this event and hope the public can and will embrace this initiative”
Yesterday Kashif and Shanghai announced that they would not be holding its annual football tournament as custom for the past 23 years sighting unfavourable and impossibilities asked by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).
However, at today’s Press Conference, Muhammad refuse to answer any questions asked by the local media seeking further clarification stating “we’ve said enough on that issue and it’s time to let it go and move on with our lives, our business and put our energy towards helping to develop youth football”
The participating teams in the inaugural tournament are:
Linden – Christianburg Wismar Secondary, Wisburg Secondary, New Silver City, McKenzie High School.
Wes Demerara – Leonora, Stewartville, Uitvlugt and Patenia Secondary
Georgetown – St George’s, Lodge, East Ruimveldt, North Georgetown, Queens College, Dolphin, Christ Church and Queenstown Secondary
East Coast – Bladen Hall, President College, Anns Grove, Annadale Secondary
Berbice – Ash Education Trust
East Bank – Covent Garden and Friendship Secondary
Region#7 – Waramadong Secondary