Ali Cole Cup - Great Honour

Organisers were predicting a successful hosting of the Ali Cole Cup during yesterday's launch of the pre-season schoolboy football competition at Excelsior High School's auditorium.

The invitational tournament is in honour of former Excelsior Manning Cup football captain Allan “Ali” Cole, who died suddenly last year. Ali Cole is the son of former Jamaica football standout Allan Skill Cole.

This year's event, to be hosted at the Mountain View Avenue-based school on July 13 and 14, is set to feature Zone A schools Excelsior, Camperdown High, Kingston High and Dunoon Technical. Zone B features Holy Trinity High, Papine High, Clan Carthy High and Vauxhall High.

Deanroy Bromfield, principal of Excelsior, said that the nature of the tournament epitomises Cole's personality.

I think it is such a wonderful initiative, and I'm sure it will be a great tournament. But even more than being a great tournament is the objective of this initiative, which is to develop these youngsters through sports. It is characteristic of Ali Cole, it's a characteristic of what Excelsior stands for that we share what we have, Bromfield told the Jamaica Observer.

He explained that effort was made to focus primarily on non-traditional institutions located in eastern and central sections of Kingston.

There's also the giving back to other schools in our immediate community, and to schools that would not normally have been at the forefront in sports. We are happy and we expect this to continue for years to come and that it will become a signature event on the football calendar, said the Excelsior principal.

From last year we were looking for something like this it's a dream come true for schools like ours, said Holy Trinity football coach Devon Anderson, while noting that yesterday marked the birthday of Jordan Foote, the Holy Trinity schoolboy footballer who died in 2016 after suffering from bone cancer.

Anderson added that the Ali Cole Cup will aid his team's preparation for the new football season set to start in September.

It is very vital for us. Over the years we have been to tournaments outside of Kingston, but this one is an additional one to help prepare us to win the Manning Cup, he said.

The Holy Trinity coach, who has seen his school being consistently raided for talent by other schools in recent years, said he is unfazed by the possibility of having his players scouted during the pre-season tournament.

Holy Trinity is always exposed, whether it's during training or pre-season football, but we don't worry because we have, like, a nursery down there, so what we keep we can make well with it,” Anderson said.

The preliminary stage of the Ali Cole Cup, set for July 13, will feature games lasting 50 minutes instead of the standard 90 minutes. The top two teams from each zone will advance to the semi-finals. Games in the semi-final stage, slated for July 14, are scheduled to last 70 minutes, while the final is set for 80 minutes.

An exhibition encounter between Excelsior Masters and Lions United/Unsung Ones All Stars will follow the Ali Cole Cup final.
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