By E. Glenford Prescott
The Premier division of the 2015/16 National Club championships will get going today (Sunday) Jan. 9 at Victoria Park.
Organisers say the opening ceremony will get going from 3 p.m. and will be followed by a match featuring a Women’s invitational fixture.
Competition will then get going in earnest with what the SVGFF officials are describing as a Windwards derby between Greiggs FC and SV United out of Georgetown.
The evening’s action will climax with the always “eagerly looked forward to” matchup between the age-old Sion Hill and a team seen by many as its embryo, Hope International, the defending champions.
Fourteen teams are taking part in this year’s tournament with their sights set on the first prize of EC$10,000.
Third vice-president of the SVGFF, Wade “Elbir” Jackson the man charged with the responsibilities of tournament and fixtures said that the they are making the effort to lift the profile of the competition by getting information out in the media regularly.
“There have been complaints about people not getting information on matches and other tournament-related matters. We are going to address that by running what we will call a media-friendly event and by that I mean we will seek to keep the public abreast of what is taking place with this tournament at all times,” Jackson said Saturday.
Asked what patrons and football lovers can expect over the next few months, Jackson replied: “Energy; commitment, passion and serious competition among players for places on the national team.”
He said that the tournament will see some of the country’s best local football talent on display and everyone who claims to be a lover of the sport should make the extra effort to be at venues where matches will be played.
Jackson said that with the most prize monies in local sport being available he expects each team to come with the intention of collecting something from the tournament. He is also pointed to the situation regarding ill discipline and emphasised the point that the SVGFF will expect the officials to be very serious without being too harsh in keeping things under control.
Jackson said that the SVGFF will also be keeping a close check on things and to do this they have introduced the use of match referees for this year’s tournament.
Following Sunday’s opening matches the next set of matches will be on Wednesday, also at the Victoria Park, and will pit Camdonia FC against Toni Stores Jugglers from 5 p.m. and Parkside Rollers against System Three from 7 p.m.
The national club championships are being contested by 14 teams in the Premier Division, 24 in the First Division, 14 in the U17 and five in the Women’s division.