Private schools booted from seventh Milo football tournament

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The seventh annual Milo Schools Football tournament, set for a grand kick-off on February 9 at the Ministry of Education ground, Carifesta Avenue, was launched on Wednesday afternoon in Georgetown.

In sharing details of the tournament to media operatives, Co-Director of the Petra Organisation, Troy Mendonca, indicated that no private institutions will participate in the two-month long competition.

In the past, the tournament featured some of the top private schools in the city, many of whom went on to dominate. Chase Academic Foundation won three titles until their unprecedented run was stopped by Sir Leon’s Lesson in 2018.  The other winners were St. George’s High (2013) and Lodge Secondary (2014).

Addressing the issue at the launch at Beepats Head Office, Dennis Street, Sophia, Mendonca indicated the move is geared to safeguard the interest of the tournament.

“There are some popular institutions that over the years would participate in the tournament and what we as the organisers want to achieve is a wider cross-section of schools being readily and motivated to participate and what some of these institutions are doing is not in-keeping with our philosophy,” Mendonca explained.

“I want to congratulate Chase for the investment they would have made over the years in terms of bringing the best players available in the school system. For me, I don’t see the benefit to the players and the institution if they are just going to participate in school football. I personally would suggest that Chase register as a club and I think as an institution you would see more benefits,” he further conveyed.

Mendonca highlighted the three-time champions would recruit the best of the country’s Under-18 players, thereby creating an imbalance with regards to competition.

“Imagine Chase having a senior team with the likes of [Ryan] Hackett, [Nicholas] McArthur, Stephon Reynolds, Kelsey Benjamin and all these players sticking to that institution and coming through as a club, what impact that would make. Even the defending champions, Sir Leon’s, where are those kids,” Mendonca noted.

Youth Development Officer and national youth coach, Bryan Joseph, said the Guyana Football Federation will use the tournament to scout for players for upcoming national duties, which include the Concacaf Under-17 championship.

Shellona David, Brand Manager for Nestle, said Beepats is delighted for the continued partnership with the Petra Organisation.

The tournament runs until April 14 and will feature 24 teams, some of which will be Canje Secondary and St. Cuthbert’s Mission.

The top four teams will receive $500,000, $300,000, $200,000 and $100,000 respectively to fund a project of their choice at their respective schools.

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