Shefa Football Association expects new leagues

by Moses Stevens

With the announcement of adding cash prizes in the
annual Shefa/Laho Cup tournament of the Shefa Football Association, already there are indications of new football leagues forming in the islands.

The Member of Parliament for Shepherds Outer Islands, Toara Daniel has informed the executive of the Shefa Football Association that with the new sports ground nearing completion at Tongariki, already the four villages on the island and nearby Buninga island are getting themselves organised to form a new league to
join the SFA.

SFA President and Member of Parliament for Tongoa
Seule Tom Malae has welcomed the initiative, saying that in fact he was planning to tour East Efate and the offshore islands Nguna, Pele and Emau and the outer islands of the Shepherds to encourage them to form their own leagues.

"With more leagues, we would expect more teams and
hopefully a more competitive Shefa/Laho Cup tournament in the future. Also with the creation of more leagues, we would be trialling more of our talented players who are out there in the villages and islands. It is my wish that the whole of Shefa Province is represented
in the Laho cup tournament", Mr. Tom Malae said.

Shefa Football Association consists of six leagues
including two on Efate, namely North and South Efate leagues, two on Epi - North and South Epi leagues, and one each on Tongoa and Emae. Mr. Tom Malae says he would like to see new leagues on East Efate, Emau island and a Nguna/Pele league.

Meanwhile SFA is advising all area leagues in Shefa to start making preparations for the start of their 2004 football season. SFA President Mr. Seule Tom Malae says it is very important that all the leagues run a championship program from which champion clubs will be identified for the 2004 Shefa/Laho Cup tournament.

"I have learned that in the past, some leagues
organise knock out tournaments to find out their
representative to the Shefa/Laho Cup. However, I would like to make it clear that the Shefa/Laho Cup tournament is a club championship. This means the participating teams must be winners of championship programs, and not winners of a knock out tournament.

"This is important in that at the end of the day, we know that those teams competing in the Shefa/Laho Cup are real champions, having played two rounds of championship matches in their respective leagues. SFA is discouraging knock out tournaments as a decider for the annual tournament because there have been cases
where leagues wait until one month to the tournament date before actually organising kncock out tournaments to find teams for the finals. This year onwards, SFA will ensure that its leagues have championship programs in place, and the clubs and players are properly registered according to VFF regulations", Mr. Seule Tom Malae syas.

The 2004 Shefa/Laho Cup will be held on Emae island. It is expected that this year's event will be the biggest since the successful 2003 tournament at Selebanga village on Tongoa last November.


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