Schoolboy football will depend on parents, says Ferguson
Davion Ferguson, coach of defending Manning Cup champions Jamaica College, believes that schools reopening and parental consent for players to attend training are the two main factors that will determine if any schoolboy football competition will be played this year.
Recently, the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) met for early discussions to help devise a way forward for the 2020 schoolboy football season, which has come under threat from the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the consensus coming out of that meeting was that there will be a delayed start to the season, Ferguson says schools reopening their doors for education and parents being comfortable enough to allow their children to attend school and participate in activities will be crucial if they are to have a 2020 schoolboy football season.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t have competitions in October or even after. The single most important thing is school starting back in September and parents allowing their kids to play or to train to play,” Ferguson said.
“The single most important stakeholder in this are parents. We have to get their consent, and if parents are not willing to send their kids out, there is no way we can have a competition or enter the competition. Schools will reopen in September, but I know some parents will still refuse to send their kids to school once the virus is still around. But it is a decision for the parents to really make, we are just here to facilitate the development of the youngsters. So the decision rests with the parents,” Ferguson added.
Ferguson remains optimistic that there will be some form of schoolboy football competition this season, even though the format or length of the competition remains uncertain. Although he is not in favour of discarding the knockout competitions (Ben Francis, Walker Cup and Champions Cup) this season, he admitted that he would support the idea if there was no alternative.
“Personally, I believe if you are going to have football it is because things are safe, and if the environment is safe within a certain time frame, and it is possible, we should have all competitions. If not and we have to do away with them (knockout competitions) and just have the main competitions, I am also in support of that,” he stated.
“But I believe we are heading into good territory and we are in a position to make some good decisions in terms or restarting, reopening and easing some of the restrictions as we go along. ISSA is trying its best to have a competition. I don’t know the format (they will use) or if it will remain the same. But they are upbeat about actually having a competition, and based on the indicators, we might be able to have competitions,” said Ferguson, who took charge at JC ahead of last season’s competition.