Whittaker dreams of expanding Unity Cup
Former national goalkeeper, Allien Whittaker, dreams of expanding his annual Allien Whittaker/SAP Sports Unity Cup football festival, scheduled for Turners Oval in Clarendon on Sunday at 8 a.m.
The event, in its 12th staging, is usually held over one day, with teams playing one game over 90 minutes for a trophy. However, the Clarendon native has always dreamed of making it more than it is based on overwhelming requests from patrons for a longer version. But he said expansion is not possible with his limited support and resource.
"The one day format has worked, but people always tell me to have a two-day tournament. But I would like a one-week tournament if I had sponsors," he said.
"I have sent sponsorship letters, but only FLOW ever gave me a response. But I hope to get sponsored, so teams can get jerseys and it can be easier, instead of everything coming straight out of my pocket," Whittaker told The Gleaner.
Whittaker's support come from Patrick Sappleton, owner of SAP Sports, national footballer, Rodolph Austin, who provide trophies, and the owner and operator of Turners Oval. "The biggest support for the last two years is from the owner of the field. When people were asking for money, he just granted me permission.. He has filled a big gap," he stated.
The tournament, which is geared toward providing quality practice games for teams going into the schoolboy football season, has continue to be a main attraction for the community.
"Only Clarendon College (CC) and Garvey Maceo, the two schools I attended, are fixed, the competition was built around them. Clarendon has been absent for the last two years, but Lenny Hyde (CC technical director) told me they will be back this year. Last year I turned down about six teams.
People look forward to it, and it affords the teams a good practice game. Plus, they get to see a feature game with Humble Lion playing another Premier League team," he said.
Tens teams will contest five matches. The event opens with Lennon against Central High, then at 10, Munro plays Manchester high. Denbigh entertain Wolmer's at noon, while Clarendon College take on Garvey Maceo at 2 p.m.
The feature game between Premier League teams, Humble Lion and Dunbeholden starts at 4 p.m.