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Gopaul taking ASJA cricket to next level

Thursday, May 17, 2018
ASJA Boys College San Fernando cricketers with their coach/manager, Allan Gopaul, left, back row, prior to the PowerGen Secondary Schools match against Naparima College at Lewis Street in San Fernando. PICTURE COURTESY CRICKET360

ASJA Boys College of San Fernando is now a force to be reckoned with in schools cricket, as one man decided that enough is enough, and began to mould a team from being a group of also-rans into a well-oiled unit.

That man is Allan Gopaul— who breathes cricket and has shown an unbelievable commitment towards the school. Just as an example, he recently held a three-day camp which included meals and all other essentials for the players, in preparation for their participation in the PowerGen Under-14 cricket series.

He has taken a very professional approach to dealing with the development of cricket at ASJA and has brought a level of discipline among the players that was never there before.

He has even gotten buy-in from the principal Alim Ali and together they have produced a team of talented athletes they are very proud of.

The boys, who are now well known for cricket in San Fernando, led the championship division until round four with a chance of being the top team to enter the Premiership division. However, inexperience cost them the crown, but they proved that they can compete with the best in the division.

During the season ASJA was able to go pass top teams such as Presentation College of San Fernando in the Championship division with even greater success at under 16 level. ASJA defeated one of the powerhouse teams Naparima College to remain unbeaten in the under-14 division.

In November 2017, ASJA gave Gopaul full control of all three teams as a head coach and that created a platform for the school’s success. When contacted Gopaul said he gave full praise to Ali and his staff for allowing him the opportunity to render his services to the school, which he is proud to do on a voluntary basis.

Gopaul went on to say: “ASJA cricket continues to grow, it has a lot of potential in becoming the Premier School team in T&T. ASJA would not have been able to sustain Premiership in 2019, but in 2020 when we get there it will be for a very long time.

My formula continues to be very simple—earn the player’s respect and they will certainly perform. ASJA might not have the big names players, but what they have are very big hearts. I never classify players ability because a team is as strong as the bench everyone must perform to their best.

“Our discipline also has to be above the mediocre standards. My players have never arrived one minute late to a practice session and they know that we must be at least thirty minutes early at the match venue when we have a game. There are uniforms belonging to players that are still in my possession because those players lack discipline. I take my responsibilities of creating a new cricket culture, whether we win or lose very seriously.

“In dealing with the boys I never mention one negative but always bring forward positives which creates a good learning environment. Gopaul said in 2018 ASJA can now boast of at least 10 Zonal players in various age groups and one nation under 15 player in Ricardo Chase. The championship team allowed opportunities to five under fourteen boys, two coming from one, as part of the succession plan.”

ASJA Boys had a camp for their teams over the Easter vacation and it contributed to the boy’s development. Gopaul said the camp was intended to ensure the boys remain active while other school teams take a vacation. At present, he also manage’s the under 10 team at Kumar Rampat Cricket Academy and recently chosen as Manager of the under 17’s which comprises of national and zonal players who head to the

Sir Gary Sobers International Tournament in Barbados in July due to his ability to get results.

Gopaul who holds a masters in business administration and specialises in leadership and entrepreneurship said he looks forward to the upcoming months to win the Sir Gary Sobers Tournament.


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