The 2016 schoolboy football season is in full swing with all the spills and thrills that a typical schoolboy football season brings. This season, however, comes into special focus, as it unfolds in the immediate aftermath of yet another failed World Cup-qualifying cycle. As the discussions, debates and analysis continue with added fervour. The age-old proposal of a two-tier system for the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions is back on the front burner. Veteran schoolboy coach Patrick ‘Jackie’ Walters has been for a long time championing of the call for the best teams in the Manning and daCosta Cup to be separated into divisions with an A division comprising the bigger and better teams with the weaker teams to play in a B division with a relegation and promotion process enforced. The idea is that instead of playing so many meaningless games against smaller so-called inferior teams and winning 8-0, 9-0, and 10-0 the top teams should play more often among themselves, thus guaranteeing more competitive games, better football, and more meaningful development of the players. This, to my mind, is trending down the dangerous road of elitism in what are still amateur school competitions. This radical change would effectively be telling smaller, poorer, less-equipped schools like Tarrant High, Edith Dalton James, Papine etc., that they are not good enough’ to rub shoulders with the likes of St George’s College, Kingston College and Jamaica College. The same subliminal message would be sent to the smaller rural schools, such as Green Pond, May Day High or Black River High, that they don’t belong on the same field and are inferior – not just as footballers, but as a school community and as individuals. That they are lesser beings that their counterparts who attend Cornwall College, Munro College or Clarendon College. As the competitions are more even after the first round, the main objectives sought after by this proposal are for the most part achieved as the proverbial sheep are separated from the goats, as the elite teams do emerge and compete against each other for championship honours. The advent of the high-profile ISSA-Flow Super Cup pushes the concept even further providing an even bigger stage for the top teams to strut their stuff against each other, which further diminishes the need to split the competitions into divisions. The Manning and daCosta Cup competitions as they are, are highly successful and hugely popular products that provide a pivotal platform for the exposure of the nation’s best young football talent. It is the skill of meaningfully identifying that talent and what we do with that talent that have been our most significant let down. The Schoolboy football competitions are far from perfect, within an even more imperfect football structure in Jamaica, but we have to keep our feet grounded in reality. The magnitude of improvement and impact being craved by some of these suggested changes to the schoolboy football product are unrealistic. There are more achievable fundamentals such as improving the surfaces and beginning the transformation in the way talented young Jamaican players view themselves in the wider scheme of things. The practice of drilling it into the subconscious of our top 17, 18, 19 year olds that they are “so young” and have so much time to develop, is a crippling and devastating mistake. The career path of a professional footballer is generally clearly defined from as early as fourteen or fifteen years old. When we keep telling our best young players how young they are, we are covertly setting back the psychological development and advancement an average of five usually detrimental years. These are but some of the immediate problems we need to address in our football before we further muddy the waters with another act of classism. No need for split
UN Security CouncilThe President of the United Nations (UN) Security Council has said that lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the Liberian government is a worrying trend that needs urgent attention because it makes the citizenry to have no confidence in the governing establishment.As a result, the Security Council has urged the Unity Party led government to accelerate its accountability and transparency efforts to bolster public confidence as the October 10 elections approaches as well as the subsequent transfer of power, the UN SC said in a statement yesterday.The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration has been marred with series of corruption incidents and several anti-graft reports that have yet to be properly investigated and perpetrators brought to book.The latest of these entrenched corruption activities is the Public Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) loan scheme, which was “reportedly” set aside by government for struggling Liberian businesses. Unfortunately, however, the funds were divided amongst top government officials and family members and cronies, thereby leaving out those the scheme was actually meant to benefit. Investigation launched into how the funds were mismanaged has yielded no fruit as the case is seems to be forgotten already.The President admitted in her last Annual Address to the Joint Session of Legislature that her government has failed in the war against corruption because Liberians are dishonest, not only in government, but in their homes, as well as places of learning and of worship.The global body (UN) and its sub-organizations have continuously stressed that transparency and accountability are requisite tools for the attainment of peace and the advancement of development and improvement of lives in any country. China, which is a permanent member, currently holds the presidency of the Security Council.The Security Council, therefore, emphasizes the need for continued international attention to and involvement in Liberia and urges the government, UNMIL, and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to continue to coordinate closely in the transfer of responsibilities, taking into account UNMIL’s drawdown and closure at the expiration of the final period of its mandate on March 30, 2018, as set out in Resolution 2333 (2016).The Security Council will continue to engage with the international community and donors, including in support of the commitments made in the Liberia Peace-building Plan, to address capacity gaps identified in the UNCT’s mapping exercise needed to assure continuity of relevant peace-building programs and assist Liberia’s continued efforts to achieve sustainable peace.“The Security Council emphasizes, in this context, the importance of the convening role of the Peace-building Commission,” the statement said.The Security Council commends the overall progress towards restoring peace, security and stability in Liberia, the commitment of the people and Government of Liberia to peace and to developing democratic processes and institutions, and the contributions of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) since its establishment in 2003, and welcomes the Liberia Peace-building Plan, entitled ‘Sustaining Peace and Securing Development’ (S/2017/282), submitted by the Secretary-General to the Council, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2333 (2016) after development through close consultation between the UN and the Government of Liberia.The global security body said it has taken note of the peace-building plan and actions to be undertaken during phase I of the plan from April 2017 – March 2018 in support of the Government of Liberia’s commitment to develop, before UNMIL’ s departure, durable national capacities critical to sustain peace, and, in this regard, encourages all stakeholders to enhance efforts to fulfill their commitments and provide their support for successful implementation and emphasizes the need for expanded efforts by the Liberian authorities to address the root causes of conflict, reinvigorate reconciliation processes, promote land reform, advance constitutional and institutional reforms, especially in the justice and security sectors, and promote women’s active participation in Peace-building, extend state authority and social services throughout the country, and build trust between Liberian citizens and the government institutions.The Security Council notes the importance of credible presidential and legislative elections in Liberia in October 2017 and calls upon all stakeholders to ensure that the elections in October will be free, fair, credible, and transparent, including through the full participation of women, and that any dispute will be resolved peacefully through established mechanisms in accordance with the law.The Security Council also welcomed the signing of the ‘Farmington River Declaration’ on June 4, at the ECOWAS Summit, where political parties committed themselves to violence-free elections in October and a peaceful transition to a new government.The council also called on the Liberian government to ensure that adequate resources are committed and expeditiously distributed for the National Elections Commission,.The group also commended the successful completion of the transfer of security responsibility to Liberia’s security services on 30 June 2016 and encourages the efforts underway by the Government of Liberia to put in place an elections security plan aimed at responding effectively and appropriately to any incident of public disorder and calls on the government to provide adequate resources to implement the plan.The Security Council welcomes the support of bilateral and multilateral partners, including the UN, African Union, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union, and encourages them to continue to play a significant role in support of building and sustaining peace in Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Ferris placed first on the Cactus trails, completing the 6 km long lap with a time of 30:26.Placing second in the race was Andrew Kovacs, who completed the long lap with a time of 30:59, while George Gamble placed third at 32:48.The event also featured two abbreviated distances, with Sam Keats finishing the “Short Course” first with a time of 21:31 and Kelsey Young finishing the Quail Trail at a time of 29:48.- Advertisement -Racers won’t have much recovery time, as the Club will be racing in another time trial Thursday evening, beginning from the Baldonnel School at 7 p.m.