Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Telecommunications giant LIME has committed a whopping $150 million as exclusive sponsor of the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup schoolboy football competitions in a five-year deal with the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA).
LIME takes over from previous title sponsor Digicel. The latter's three-year deal with ISSA ended last season.
The 2013 schoolboy season will kick off on Saturday, September 7, with a double-header at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St James. Defending Manning Cup champions St George's College will tackle Camperdown High at 3 p.m. to be followed by Glenmuir High against Denbigh High, two hours later.
"We believe that a football competition like this, that has impacted the lives of so many Jamaicans including leaders in various industries, and is, no doubt, now shaping the leaders of tomorrow, deserves a place of prominence on LIME's sponsorship calendar," Carlo Redwood, LIME's vice-president of marketing, announced at the launch of the 2013 schoolboy football competitions at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew yesterday.
"We want to bring back the glory days of schoolboy football, we want to encourage fans to support their teams. You will be seeing new and innovative ways of promoting and marketing schoolboy football. And we look forward to a high level of disciplined football," he added.
Wisynco has come on board as associate sponsor in a three-year deal worth $45 million. "Today feels special. We have been supporting schoolboy football for many years and we are happy that BIGGA is now associated with it," Francois Chalifour, Wisynco's director of development and marketing, disclosed.
"Our initial agreement is for three years, but we want to be involved for much longer. We charge the teams to compete hard and do well," he said.
Burger King has also joined as an associate sponsor, and they have signed a one-year $4 million deal with ISSA.
"Burger King is looking forward to playing its role at the schoolboy level. We are happy to support ISSA and tip our hats off to the coaches who have put in the hard work. We also encourage the schools to play hard but fair," Sabrena McDonald, Burger King's sales and marketing manager, said.
ISSA's president Dr Walton Small welcomed the new sponsors. "It is time for the most anticipated football competitions - ISSA/LIME Manning and daCosta Cup - and we take the opportunity to welcome our sponsors, LIME, Wisynco, and Burger King. Also our media partners, the RJR Communications Group," Small said. He also expressed gratitude to the former sponsors Digicel, Pepsi and KFC for their support over the years. "I encourage all stakeholders to be mindful that it is a schoolboy competition. Do not bring the game into disrepute. Trust the system to bring justice," Dr Small added.
President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Captain Horace Burrell, gave greetings.
Aston Messam, ISSA's Manning Cup chairman, outlined the format of each competition. The Manning Cup competition will see 42 teams divided into seven groups for the preliminary stage to be played on a home and away basis. In the daCosta Cup, 83 teams will be competing for the title.
St George's College won the Manning Cup last year, while Glenmuir High are the defending daCosta Cup champions.