St Jago High laments state of school field
Denzil Wilks, general manager of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) says that the body has done all it can to improve the playing surfaces at St Jago High, despite complaints from the school that the body has neglected it.
Officials at St Jago had previously said that they are worried that they may not be able to prepare a team in time for next year's staging of the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships in March because of difficulties finding a place to host training sessions.
This is because they said that the field at the school was in what they describe as a "shoddy state", but Wilks told STAR Sports that the surface is 90 to 95 per cent of what would be ideal.
"(Ideal) would require another couple of months without interference, and that could not be afforded," he said.
The interference Wilks refers to is that of student athletes training on the field, which affects the growth of grass.
When STAR Sports visited the school on Wednesday, there was grass on the surface, but also dirt patches in various areas, as well as weeds.
Wilks said the field was handed over in good condition.
Several teams were training when the team visited on Wednesday.
Wilks said SDF officials visit the school on a weekly basis to assess the condition of the facilities, but the school says the SDF has not visited since the handing over on November 14.
Since then, the water pump has broken and no one from the body has visited to repair it.
But why is the school allowing teams to train on the field if it hampers its development?
Officials say they have no choice. The teams were originally training at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, home of Rivoli FC.
They have since been asked to find another location because Rivoli need the venue to not only train, but play their Major League matches.
Parents also requested a change in location because of fear of the safety of their children getting home at nights.
But one of the school's coaches, who wished to remain unnamed, remains positive, being able to now train on the field.
"Half a loaf is better than none. At least we're training now and we're happy. I prefer to be training on the field in this state than to have no field at all," he says.