Purple exodus — KC stars make switch for Manning Cup season
NATIONAL player Jorginho James is among a handful of Kingston College (KC) players seeking to switch allegiance to Wolmer's Boys' for the upcoming Manning Cup schoolboy football season.
James, 18, who scored on his senior debut in helping the Reggae Boyz edge Cuba 1-0 in February, was expected to lead the charge for last year's beaten Walker Cup finalists KC.
Along with Jason Greenland and captain Tazeo Gilpin, James is reportedly on the verge of donning the maroon-and-gold colours of the Heroes' Circle institution. He would thus continue the recent trend of the past four years where some of KC's top players have transferred to rival schools.
In 2009, prolific national Under-20 striker MaCauley Tulloch made the surprising trek across North Street to neighbours and bitter rivals St George's College (STGC) and was instrumental in the Light Blues' successful defence of their Manning Cup title.
The following year, another national youth striker, Rohan Roye, also joined the Light Blues. Just last season, Taval Whittaker and Kamario Osbourne made the move to Old Hope Road to represent Jamaica College (JC).
These transfers have been rumoured to result from a poor relationship and loss of respect for former coach Trevor 'Jumpy' Harris. Sportsmaster Noel Channer is cognisant of these developments, but believes the Sixth-Form curriculum is the major problem.
"This year there is a little discomfort with the players and the coach and there have been rumours that a few has been wandering and Wolmer's is one of the areas of targets," Channer told the Jamaica Observer.
"I'm not sure of the numbers of players who have targeted Wolmer's, but we're still in contact with some of them to convince them, irrespective of their exam results," he said.
Channer added: "I think it has to do essentially with the programmes offered at Sixth Form. The... programmes do not suit some of the players and we (therefore) have students going as far as Camperdown and Wolmer's from time to time.
"But to the best of my knowledge, there is a little softening of the administration at times. There is this notion that the players are not accommodated, but sometimes it has to do with the grades. If they don't meet the requirements, we cannot accommodate them," he pointed out.
KC, meanwhile, will enter their latest campaign with a new coach, Donovan 'DV' Hayles, after parting company with Harris.
"As far as I'm concerned, the coach had a verbal tendering of his resignation... I haven't seen it in writing... He indicated that it's family commitment, so I don't know how accurate that is," Channer said of Harris' departure.
KC have not won the Manning Cup for 26 years, dating back to 1986 when they defeated Charlie Smith, 1-0, for back-to-back titles and their 14th overall.
"There is no pressure on the current coach. As a matter of fact, he has asked for a three-year programme that will enable him to sort things out," Channer noted.
"But whatever time he has for the two weeks before Manning Cup we will be grateful for that and for him to get his programme going," he added.
KC will play last year's 'triple crown' schoolboy champions St George's on Saturday in the annual Roper Cup extravaganza contested by the North Street rivals.