I feel sorry for Sheldon Davis, coach of the Manchester High School football team that lost in their second ISSA Ben Francis Knock-Out finals on Saturday, to the same team that beat them two years ago.
In 2011, St Elizabeth Technical beat Manchester High 2-1 at Jarrett Park, and last weekend it was 2-0 at the STETHS Sports Complex, and as the scoreline suggested: yes, it was easier than two years ago.
A few days earlier, however, most football pundits who saw both teams play were hedging their bets on Manchester High winning their first major football title, until the Manchester High principal handed the opponents the tie breaker, their biggest advantage over the last few seasons, playing at home.
Jasford Gabriel, the Manchester High principal who in 2009 had resisted playing STETHS in Santa Cruz, did a complete 180-degree turn on Thursday, after ISSA had scheduled the game for Montego Bay. He asked for it to be played instead at STETHS.
I am not sure what or who was behind the move, but any football person worth their salt would think twice about playing STETHS on their own home turf. The very least the principal or whoever made the decision could do was to give the coach and the team a fighting chance to win the game and their first ever major title.
Principals and administrators should run their schools to the best of their abilities and allow the people they employ to make sports decisions to do their work in peace. Too many principals who have no sports background think they need to meddle in the areas where they have no expertise.
ISSA cannot escape some culpability as well, as its history is replete with rejecting schools requesting a change of venue for various reasons, including playing against another on their home grounds, at times with the only response being that the venues are already decided.
Schoolboy football is as result-driven as anywhere else, and after coming so close so often and not delivering, Davis could be looking for another job come January.
That two defence lapses that led to the goals were almost criminal, and all that Davis and his staff worked so hard for since June, went up in smoke.
Make no mistake: winning the daCosta Cup will be very difficult and Manchester High will have to come out of a very tough Inter-Zone group that includes Munro College and Clarendon College who they may need to beat twice this season if they are to make progress.
Among the schools of thought that we heard was that: why should two schools located in central Jamaica come all the way to Montego Bay to play? as well as that it gave the fans of both schools the chance to watch the game live.
As much as STETHS is one of my favourite places to watch sports, I will maintain that for many reasons it is not best equipped to host a major football final. For one thing it cannot properly handle the large crowds which go to these events.
Due to the limited entrances and hard-headed security people, hundreds missed the first 30 minutes of last Saturday's game and allowed hordes of pickpockets to feast on unsuspecting people.
Several hundreds more had to stand to watch the game from bad viewing angles as the limited seating was just not sufficient and several dozens spilled over on to the pitch itself.
Let's hope Manchester do make it to the final in about a month, and if they are to face another school from central Jamaica, let's see if the Manchester administration will insist on playing at that team's home field.