By Neto Baptiste
The Coordinator of Schools Football, Rowan Benjamin, is hoping for a return of competition when the new academic year commences in September.
Benjamin, a former national coach, said he has submitted a calendar of events covering 2021 into 2022 and is hopeful that competitive play could return in some, if not all divisions in both boys and girls categories.
“We have to have serious discussions because football will be the first school sport that will have to come up and then that will set the trend and that’s why I speak of the undr-17s and if, maybe, we run under-20 in senior boys and girls. Whether that may be the same thing in terms of they [players] may have to receive PCR tests, then that will open up a whole can of worms because they would be in school then, but we will be doing our work starting next week,” he said.
There have been no school competitions in any discipline since March 2020 when the country recorded its first case of the coronavirus.
Since then, there have been public calls for the return of competition at the domestic level while others have called for the phased return of school sports, starting with low contact sports.
Benjamin said that in the absence of competition, coaches have been assisting with administering physical education classes at schools across the island.
“As you may have realised, there were no organised afternoon sports by the Ministry of Sports since the term would have begun some time ago. We are all just working along with the PE teachers, and where there are some primary schools without a PE teacher then, the coach would go there and help out with physical exercise because that is important, too,” he said.
In a recent interview, Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew, said the immediate focus remains on academics and that there were no immediate plans for the return of school competitions.