“It will be quite simple today; just go out there and win” Sheldon Maharaj, the Shiva Boys Hindu College manager said yesterday ahead of today’s opening clash with arch rivals Naparima College from 5pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain Couva.
His confidence is not only because they defeated Naps for the Premier Division’s South Zone League title last year, but rather because they will be fielding basically their same team from last year, having lost just two players in defenders Shaquille Williams and Jerome Samuel.
“The core of our team is still there which means we still have our a powerful team. We are aware of Naparima and what they have to offer but we are the south champions, and while we will respect them, like we will give any other team, we are going out to start with a victory” Maharaj explained.
The game will be the feature match of a double header at the Couva venue, and will follow a 3pm match-up between Carapichaima East Secondary and Fatima College, which were spared relegation to the Championship Division based on a technicality.
Shiva coach Hayden Ryan has beefed up his team by recruiting midfielder Jude Phillips from Pleasantville Secondary and attacking midfielder Kierron Mason from Naparima, and have been hard in training for the past two months in preparation for a an even more difficult season than last year. Maharaj said both Phillips and Mason are likely to be on the starting team today, but he will be looking forward for a good overall performance from the team.
The Premier Division this season will include 16, and not the normal 15 teams, because the League took a decision not to demote San Juan North Secondary.
Action in the league will begin officially tomorrow (Saturday) with matches in the different zones across T&T, but Championship Division matches will kick-off next Friday.
Carapichaima East vs Fatima College, 3pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
Shiva Boys HC vs Naparima College, 5pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
St Benedict’s vs St Anthony’s
Speyside vs Queen’s Royal College
St Mary’s vs St Augustine
Fyzabad vs Trinity College (Moka)
Trinity College East vs Signal Hill
Presentation College San Fernando vs San Juan North
Shiva Boys begin SSFL defence today.
T&T Newsday Reports.
HAYDEN Ryan, coach of defending Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division winners, Shiva Boys, says his team will focus on one match at a time this season.
Shiva Boys, who won their first Premier Division title last year, will open the 2017 season today at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. Shiva Boys face southern rivals Naparima at 5 pm in the second match of a double header. In the first match Carapichaima East will tackle Fatima from 3 pm.
Ryan, speaking to Newsday yesterday, said: “As long as all goes well we are in it. I am the humble type of coach that will take one game at a time.” Ryan said most of last year’s team are returning this year, but if they don’t unite as a team they will not play at a high level.
“One of the things that I have learnt about chemistry is that it takes a degree of gelling and coming together. It does not matter how much years people play together, if they don’t have that unity and the love then that could be a slight issue. But I guess we have it so I am expecting the guys to flow tomorrow.”