Sport

Coley wants revision of new schoolboy football format

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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The new format of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/FLOW knockout round has confused and bemused some coaches, fans and others associated with the island's top schoolboy football competition.

The new seeding system to determine the ranking of teams — 16 in the Manning Cup and 32 in the DaCosta Cup — who advance to the second round has left some coaches perplexed, while others have adopted a wait-and- see approach.

Miguel Coley, coach of the defending Manning Cup champions Jamaica College, does not approve of the format in its current state.

“It has benefitted us, definitely. But it is not something that I agree with, but it has benefited us this year. Hopefully next year we can revise it because it's up and down. You have knockout, you have round robin, there are too many different formats of the competition within the competition,” said Coley after his team's come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Charlie Smith High in their first-leg round-of-16 encounter at Stadium East on Saturday.

Jerome Waite, head coach of Charlie Smith and assistant head coach for the senior Reggae Boyz team, has taken a more patient approach as he tries to come to terms with the new format.

“I wasn't here when this one [format] was put in place. During that time I had national duties. It is a new format…we have to give it a chance to work and see what it is all about. But this is the round that you call dog-eat-dog, so some of the bigger names can fall short at this round and you know that once you are out, you are out of everything, so we will watch and see,” said Waite.

The new seeding system grants points for performances from both the 2016-2017 season and the 2017-2018 season to help place the teams for the first knockout stage of the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup competitions.

The defending champions of both competitions receive five points; runners-up four points; third-place three points; and fourth-place two points. All other quarter-finalists receive a single point for their performances last season.

For this season, all teams receive a point for each win, while zone winners get five points; second-place get four points; and the best third-place teams that advance get three points.

Goal difference is used as a tie-breaker where necessary, and teams that played against each other in the first round cannot meet again in the first knock-out stage. This has resulted in Manning Cup top-seed Holy Trinity High being drawn against 15th-seed Haile Selassie High and second-seed Wolmer's Boys' being drawn against 16th-seed Bridgeport High. Wolmer's and Haile Selassie were both in Group A in the first round.

— Dwayne Richards

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