KSAFA boots away elite U20 format
THE Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has booted the elite format from its Under-20 youth competition, which kicks off tomorrow with Alliance Finance and McKay Security the new sponsors.
Previously, some clubs played as an elite group called the Super 12 and others competed in a lower-tiered group based on geography. The top four from the Super 12 and the top four (two apiece) from the other groups would advance to the quarter-finals.
However, this year, the teams have been divided into four groups of eight, with the top two - after playing each other once - advancing to quarters.
At yesterday's launch at Pollyanna Restaurant, Carvel Stewart, KSAFA's first vice-president and chairman of Harbour View Football Club, said, "Elitism is unfair to aspiring clubs with talented players," as the bigger clubs would attract better players, thus stifling development.
The tournament has been sponsored to the tune of US$1.8 million and will be called the Alliance Finance-McKay Security 2015 KSAFA Under-20 competition, with the winners set to walk away with $50,000, second $40,000, third $30,000, and fourth $20,000.
McKay Security is not a newcomer to sports sponsorship, but the company is mainly associated with horse racing and tae kwon do. However, CEO Jason McKay was straight-forward about his company's objective for aligning itself with one of Jamaica's main sport of choice.
"This give us an opportunity to reach out to a larger crowd of persons than if we were normally just reaching out to the isolated groups. It is a good way to position your company (for growth) and give your product a good boost, and that is our real reason for doing it," he explained.
"But it is something that we have always wanted to get into, but nobody really approached us. Football uses a lot of security, so there is also good business in it. But it has nothing to do with anything else; it's just good business. It's good to get your name out there and we expect a positive spin-off," he added.
Thirty-two teams - divided into four groups - will contest the tournament when it gets underway tomorrow. Each zone winner will receive $7.500 for topping their respective group.
Zone A consists of August Town, Barbican, Swallowfield, Allman-Woodford, Santos, Mountain View, Cavalier and Real Mona.
Defending champions Bull Bay will play out of Zone B alongside Browns Town, New Kingston, Rockfort, Rae Town, Harbour View, Central Kingston and Tivoli Gardens.
Zone C includes Maxfield, Olympic Gardens, Arnett Gardens, Seaview Gardens, Greenwich Town, Molynes, Boys' Town and Waterhouse.
Red Hills, Maverley-Hughenden, Cooreville, Stony Hill, Pembroke Hall, Duhaney Park, Constant Spring and Meadforest make up Zone D.
Meanwhile, KSAFA President Stewart Stephenson expressed disappointment in Jamaica's Under-20 team's performance at the just concluded CONCACAF Under-20 Championship and encouraged the players in this year's competition to aspire for the next World Cup in Russia.