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Tough blow for TG

Manning Cup coach Nicholas believes ISSA shouldn’t have kicked out team

Published:Thursday | December 9, 2021 | 12:07 AM

TIVOLI GARDENS Comprehensive High School Manning Cup football coach, Christopher Nicholas, believes that the Inter-Secondary Schools’ Sports Association (ISSA) could have looked at relaxing their rules for the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions to accommodate the disruption COVID-19 has caused to schools and the lives of young students.

Tivoli Gardens and Camperdown High were reprimanded by ISSA for using ineligible players and lost their place in the quarter-finals of the competition after being deducted all their points.

Tivoli had finished runners-up to Camperdown in Group B.

Nicholas pointed out that the player in question was attending Denham Town High School in 2019, but did not go to school the following year, then started attending Tivoli Gardens in 2021.

However, he reasoned that the youngster only turned 16 in August and due to the impact that COVID has had, the organisers could have been more understanding.

‘RULE IS RULE’

“He wasn’t going to school in 2020 so by law he would have been registered with Denham Town and the ISSA rule is rule,” said Nicholas. “But he just turned 16 in August. My HOD (head of department) was at the (ISSA) meeting and he told me that as long as they are 16 and under they are okay.

“But I get to understand that ISSA only allows people to play if they turn 16 after September, so that is where my school fell down. We never really understood,” he explained.

Nicholas stated that high school sports’ governing body should have been more considerate under the COVID climate.

“Since all that has taken place with the whole COVID, it’s like we are asking a youngster to sit out two years and the fact that he just turned 16, it is something they could have looked at,” Nicholas argued. “I think that as long as you are 16, you should be allowed because COVID has upset so many things.

“COVID has messed up the lives of many people and I believe this was a minor situation that could have been solved easily,” he commented.

Nicholas, who won the Manning Cup as a player with Tivoli Gardens, said the team had hopes of reaching the final and that ISSA’s decision cast a cloud of gloom over the school and community.

“We started to get the youngsters to believe in themselves again and we could have gone to the final,” Nicholas noted.

“Yes, they feel down and sad because they know they could’ve gone all the way. But the good thing about it is their heads didn’t drop.

“Each player said next year will be different. They know next year will be much better because most have gained the experience of the Manning Cup, and that is belief,” he said.

“The team is young. It’s a bunch of youngsters, 17 years and down, so we are still looking forward. We will continue to keep the team together,” he added.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com