TFA aim for Premier League
Linnell McLean, president of the Trelawny Football Association, said he is anticipating a great season of football in his parish, following Sunday's final of the President's Cup, which Coopers Pen won in convincing fashion - 4-2 over Harmony FC - at the Elleston Wakeland Centre.
"Of course, the most important result we hope for at the end of this season of football in Trelawny is for our clubs to feature significantly in the confederation's Super League and, of course, stake a claim for a spot in the Premier League," McLean said.
"That would be the greatest of all coming out of this pending season," he reiterated.
The parish has not produced a Premier League club since the high-flying act of Village United, which ended in relegation at the end of the 2011-12 season.
With the likes of Clark's Town (Trelawny Major League champions) gaining promotion to the Western Confederation Super League, and with Coopers Pen, Duanvale and Baca Star also in the mix, McLean is hopeful.
"These clubs are on an upward trend over the last couple of seasons and all indications are that this will continue. It can only augur well for football in this parish as we try to improve all aspects of the game here," noted McLean, "[and] that they get all available support to grow and become better."
Two of the most critical areas for such development are quality of playing surfaces and the number of young players coming through the ranks.
The long-serving president believes that once these areas are addressed, it would make it easier for clubs to begin challenging the other dominant parishes for spots in the bigger, more lucrative leagues.
Part of the plan, according to McLean, is to drive derbies and rivalries to their maximum, in order to stimulate interest and garner muchneeded sponsorship.
"It's on these platforms that we must build. Trelawny football is not the worst of the western parishes, neither do we boast of being the best, because we have some ways to go on that note. But I think we can get there," reasoned McLean.
On Sunday, McLean presented the winning team, Coopers Pen, with the President's Cup, the symbol of the opening of the football season in Trelawny.
The win was made possible thanks to a double strike from Christopher Noble in the 22nd and 31st minutes, plus goals from Shaunavan McKenzie, who netted the opener in the sixth, and AndrÈ Palmer, who scored in the 79th minute.
Shaquelle Reid and Ricardo Reid (no relation) scored for Harmony, which ended with 10 players after O'Shane Stewart was shown a red card.