With the first prize and virtually a Value Added Tax (VAT) waiver locked up courtesy of President Bharrat Jagdeo, the 18th edition of the Kashif and Shanghai tournament will be launched today with a press conference in the boardroom of major sponsor Banks DIH Ltd. Yesterday the Government Information Agency announced that despite speculations the tournament was indeed on and also announced President Jagdeo’s input for this year. While the continued sponsorship of the first prize of 750,000 dollars by President Jagdeo was not unexpected, the VAT waiver came as a surprise and will no doubt raise more than a few eyebrows given the resistance by the President to any and all suggestions for a review of the tax for the entire country. The tournament will, as usual, feature 16 teams and it is believed that this year at least one new team will be in line for consideration for its debut in the tournament. At their launching functions in the past the organizing duo of Kashif Muhammad and Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major usually spell out the teams invited to the big dance but Stabroek Sport understands that with the city Premier League still two weeks away from completion, the full composition of the tournament will be revealed at a later date. The duo had previously called on all clubs to continue preparations ahead of the launching of the tournament given that some of the details were still not ironed out. All systems are now in place for the year-end feature that not only produces arguably the highest level of football in Guyana, but also attracts the largest crowds and generates tremendous economic spin-offs for several areas, especially Linden, where the final is played.