Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) General Secretary, Burchell Gibson (left), and Red Stripe Group Marketing Manager, Carlo Redwood, pose with the Red Stripe Champions Cup at the JFF headquarters, yesterday. Occasion was the official launch of this year's competition, which will kick off on January 31. - Rudolph Brown
Six teams from the Wray and Nephew National Premier League will battle lesser-known opponents in the first round of the Red Stripe Champions Cup, which begins on January 31.
The first round draw of this year's competition took place yesterday at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) office, which will see 20 teams vying for 10 spots in the second round.
Boys' Town, Naggo Head, Seba United, Village United, August Town and Wadadah, which were the bottom six teams on December 31, will compete with clubs from various parishes in the first round. The top six teams at the end of last year -Waterhouse, Harbour View, Reno, Portmore United, defending champions Tivoli Gardens and Arnett Gardens, received a bye to the second round where they await the first- round winners.
This year's sponsorship by Red Stripe is worth $9.7 million with an additional $10 million set aside for marketing and promotion, according to Red Stripe's group marketing manager, Carlo Redwood. The direct sponsorship of the league is an increase of $900,000 compared to last year.
This year's winners will receive $650,000 with $450,000 going to the second-place team while the semi-finalists will take home $185,000.
The first set of games will be played on January 31 and February 1 on a home-and-away basis, while the second set of games will be played on February 7 and 8. The second round draw is scheduled to take place shortly after.
First round draw:
Duhaney Park vs Holland United
Port Morant All-Stars vs Seba United
Boys' Town vs Tafari Lions
Mount Pelier vs St. Ann Bauxite F.C.
Frome vs Star Cosmos
Sporting Central vs Naggo Head
St. George's vs August Town
Village United vs Central Kingston
Salt Spring vs Downs
Bodles vs Wadadah.