JC's Coley expects a "classic" against STETHS
JAMAICA College (JC) coach Miguel Coley said he is expecting a "classic" contest, but one he aims to win, when his team meets St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in today's first leg of the ISSA/LIME Olivier Shield all-island playoff.
The kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 pm at STETHS in Santa Cruz.
JC are the Corporate Area champions after clipping Wolmer's Boys 3-2 at the end of extra time in the riveting Manning Cup final a week and a half ago, while STETHS reigned supreme following a dominant 4-1 victory over Garvey Maceo High last Saturday.
Jamaica College, the most successful Manning Cup team with a total of 25 titles, had a perfect winning run in the 2013 competition. They suffered a lone blip in another competition — the Walker Cup Knockout — when Excelsior High surprised them 0-2.
However, the Old Hope Road-based boys recovered thereafter and whipped Excelsior 4-0 en route to reaching the final of the Manning Cup as captain Junior Flemmings and Raffique Bryan played starring roles in attack.
STETHS have been invincible in all competitions, and apart from three drawn encounters in the daCosta Cup, they have been flawless.
With two schoolboy football giants clashing in part one of the double-barrelled episode, Coley is counting on ample fireworks.
"Fans can come out and expect a classic because both STETHS and Jamaica College really have something going," he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
"We are pretty confident. I know STETHS have a really good team but we have been playing against decent teams for the past month and odd, so it's just another of those games for us. We are going to respect them but we aim to represent like true champions," Coley said.
He suggested that the loss to Excelsior has toughened his team's resolve.
"We lost one game and we know what it feels to be defeated and we don't want to experience that anymore."
The JC coach said the teams drew 1-1 in a practice game during a pre-season camp at STETHS' Santa Cruz base in the summer. That, plus seeing STETHS in the daCosta Cup final provides optimism that Jamaica College can prevail.
"We played them and it ended 1-1 and we also watched them in the final. We are not arrogant or anything like that [but] we are going there to play a good game and win," Coley.
Many believe that St Elizabeth Technical are at a disadvantage because they have had little rest since playing the final, but Coley reasoned that a long break can also have a negative impact.
"It's not an advantage because sometimes you play games and it keeps you on the boil, while sometimes when you get that kind of [long] rest you are not match-sharp enough."
The return leg is scheduled for Saturday in Kingston at the Stadium East playing field. The team with more goals over the two legs will lift the Olivier Shield crown.