Ali Cup tournament set for July
Allan 'Ali' Cole Jr had great love for school and football, and to commemorate the life and contribution of the late, former Excelsior High School Manning Cup captain, his alma mater will launch an annual summer football competition in his honour. Named the Green and Yellow Ali Cup, the competition will kick off this year at Excelsior High School on July 13 and 14.
Cole Jr was a Manning Cup winning captain and team manager up to last year, when he passed from a heart attack.
But according to Clint Reid, one of the tournament's organisers, before Ali died, they wanted to start something like the Roper Cup between Kingston College and St George's. However, Cole's passing fast-tracked the idea, and after the school board approved the proposal, it was decided that in July this year Excelsior High will host its first annual Ali Cup.
"The aim initially is to give back to schools not equipped with adequate resources. But the aim overall is to develop our football programme and the school's infrastructure," Reid told The Gleaner.
Eight teams will be invited to this year's inaugural tournament and Reid revealed that they will be targeting schools from east Kingston such as Dunoon, Camperdown, Holy Trinity, Clan Carthy, Kingston High, Kingston Technical and Vauxhall, and each participating team will benefit.
"Refreshment will be prepared for the schools on the day, so all a school has to do is turn up and play some good football. It's a competition that win, lose or draw, the schools are going to get something," he added.
ZONE WINNERS TO PLAY IN FINAL
"We came up with a format of two zones, 20 minutes per half, four teams in a zone. But we want to make it more creative, so in the next meeting, there are some things we want to finalise, but we will not have any semi-finals. The teams that win the zones will play the final. The presentation will also be on the Saturday," he said.
"Next week, we will be sending letters to the other schools, meet with all the stakeholders, and let them know what is expected from each school.
"We want it to grow to be even better than the Roper Cup. That's what we are aiming for. Our main aim is to get the competition off for the first time. Once we get that off, whatever glitches or adjustments we need to make we can do that. But we are now in the incubation stage, and we expect it to be bigger and better," he said.
The main sponsors of the Ali Cup are the Goodwill Ambassadors, which is made up of former players who live overseas, visit the island annually and play games, raising funds for schools and other charities. The feature game at the end of the final day will be a match between the Goodwill tour team and Excelsior old boys.