Ali Cup to offer scholarships to needy students
Christopher Bailey, a member of the Ali Cup organising committee, has revealed that an added feature for the return of the preseason schoolboy football tournament this year will be the awarding of three scholarships to students of Excelsior High School. The tournament was absent for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bailey, who played alongside Allan Cole Jr in whose honour the tournament is being held, in the winning 1993 Manning Cup team, noted that the committee which consists of Excelsior past students is aware of the financial struggles many students face daily and they believe they have an obligation to assist those in need.
“We are trying to put in place something where we give back scholarships to three kids in the school. Kids who are doing well in school and cannot afford to purchase books or pay their examination fees.
“So we are putting that in place and do that with this year’s Ali cup,” he stated.
“We were the kids who wanted to come to school and participate. But if it wasn’t for certain people who helped me a lot of times that would not be possible. So we know the pressure and we wanted to do something to give back to the kids in the school.”
Although the group is primarily linked to football, Bailey said they wanted the scholarships to be more inclusive.
“We want them to know that it is not only about football. We want them to get a proper education. So any kid in the school that is doing well and needs the help, we will sponsor them. It doesn’t matter if they play football or not, we just want to give back to the school, to kids who are really in need and cannot afford it,” he commented.
Meanwhile, the tournament, set for August 13 and 14 at Excelsior High School, has attracted 12 schools, six daCosta and six Manning Cup teams. Each team will play five games of 20 minutes, with the top two from each group to advance to the final.
The participating schools include Cornwall College, Glenmuir High School, Clarendon College, Rusea’s High School, Dinthill Technical High and Manchester High School from the daCosta Cup. The Manning Cup teams are St Andrew Technical High, Tivoli Comprehensive High, Dunoon Technical High, Camperdown High, Charlie Smith High and hosts Excelsior.
Commitee head, Carlton Hammond, said the structure of the tournament ensures the games are competitive from the first match to the last.
“You are playing in the clutch with 5 to 10 minutes to win the game, so games are always exciting,” he said.
He disclosed also that that tournament was now officially registered as a business with the Companies Office of Jamaica.
Veteran former coach of Excelsior, Lebert Haliman, will be the honouree at this year’s event. There will also be special match between the Excelsior and Rusea’s masters.
Cole Jr was team manager in 2017 when he passed away following a heart attack.