Wagga Hunt Football Classic, for the Love of Football and Education

Author  Andrea Daley

When the approximately 66 players, representing six teams, took to the Barbican Football Field on Saturday August 10, 2019 for the annual David “Wagga” Hunt Football Classic, it was to be more than just symbolic, the friendly rivalries was also for the love of football and education. The teams;  Harbour View FC, Molynes United FC, Kingston College and Calabar Pelicans FC and St. Georges Masters have all given freely of their time and talent in honour of this sport stalwart and humanitarian whose rich legacy continues to live on through the lives of the David “Wagga” Hunt Scholarship Recipients.

waggafootThe Education component comes in the form of a scholarship program which was introduced in 2009 to honour Hunt’s legacy.  The program has graduated nine young men from Calabar & Kingston College, seven of whom are currently enrolled in Colleges and universities locally and overseas. Two set to join them.   19 to include the incoming cohort of four for the 2019 school year will continue in the program at a cost of J$1.9m for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Awardees are selected on completion of grade 7, based on financial need, academic performance, good behaviour and involvement in sports and/or other extra‐curricular activities. Scholarships cover the students from grade 8 thru Grade 13 at $100,000 per year, for a total cost of J$600,000 per student for the life of the scholarship and covers tuition, books, lunch and other related expenses.  

For all of these young men, receiving a scholarship is a huge “hand-up;” an undeniable path forward to making the most of the opportunities that lie ahead of them. It’s a relief to the families who have so much to gain by not having to worry about the expenses of books, lunch and all the other expenses parents are usually burdened with.

For Miguel Morrison, Champs record breaker while at Kingston College, the David ‘Wagga’ Hunt scholarship has given him an opportunity to reach his goals in life. “The experience has opened my eyes to a whole new world. Life has opportunities and if you’re not prepared for them”, Morrison explains, “they will miss you”.

Taj Williamson, graduate of Calabar expressed his gratitude. “The David “Wagga” hunt scholarship initiative has changed my life for the better and molded me into a rational, dutiful and well-rounded young man ready to make a mark on the world.”

Hunt, whose alma mater is KC took up a coaching stint at Calabar and after only two years, brought them the success they longed for—the Manning Cup title in 2005 ending a 28 year drought. Riding high, Calabar went on to win the Oliver Shield that year. Hunt has forged an unlikely partnership between two arch rivals in schoolboy sport, in his wake. And others, such as clubs in the local football fraternity have gladly come on-board to help the cause. Kingston College and Calabar now have common ground for celebration and camaraderie if only in these rare moments; the David “Wagga” Hunt Scholarship Fund activities including the staging of the Football Classic.

Hunt, who passed away suddenly in 2007 is described as a hard‐working administrator who wore several hats.  At the time of his passing, he was the general secretary of the (KSAFA) Kingston and St Andrew Football Association. He was also the longest serving secretary of the now–defunct Minor League Football Association and co-founder of Meadhaven United Football Club. His coaching acumen is legendary. One of Jamaica’s most successful coaches, Hunt took the National Under-17 team to be the first ever Jamaican Team at any level to defeat the United States in competition. As coach of Meadhaven United FC he led them to championship honours in several age group competitions.

“David Hunt taught me everything I know,” said Lijyasu “Shacka” Simms, coach of Molynes United FC.  “We are happy to support the Wagga Hunt Classic but for me it’s so much more. It’s about honouring someone who has influenced a lot of youngsters-even today; who has been a role-model to me. David was my hero, my teacher, my father, my brother; a great man.”

Molynes United FC will take on Harbour View FC in the Classic’s opening Game starting at 2p