We have no excuses says STETHS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — St Elizabeth Technical's journey to the ISSA/LIME schoolboy treble hit a major pot hole on Wednesday when they were ambushed 3-0 by a superior Jamaica College team in the first leg of the Olivier Shield play-offs.
Two days after the entire town of Santa Cruz were celebrating STETHS' fourth daCosta Cup title, after dismantling Garvey Maceo High 4-1 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, the STETHS Sports Complex was silent as the Manning Cup champions marched in and then left with a decisive lead going into tomorrow's return leg at the Stadium East field.
It was only the second time this season that STETHS failed to score, after being held 0-0 by Frome Technical in the quarter-final round.
Yesterday morning, about 12 hours after their first loss in 21 games all season long, STETHS' coach Omar Wedderburn admitted the defeat was a massive wake-up call for his troops, but said they were not going to make any excuses.
STETHS had a quick turnaround from Saturday's emotionally charged game, while Jamaica College got the benefit of 10 days rest, but Wedderburn told the Observer, "we knew the schedule when the season started, and so we are not making any excuses like others have done. It is our (the coaching staff) job to make sure the team is ready for the game on Saturday."
Wedderburn said they had met with the players after the game, Wednesday, and again yesterday morning, and said they were certain the players would be ready come tomorrow, "No it's not over yet, as we don't intend to give up and we will play to the final whistle on Saturday (tomorrow)."
The coach said the main problem they had to work on was the players' mental state, "this is not about physical fitness or injury, we came back out and played hard in the second half (on Wednesday) and that shows that the players are not tired."
This is not the first time that STETHS will be forced to overcome a deficit this season, they trailed Paul Bogle High 2-0 in the Ben Francis semi-finals before roaring back to score three goals late in the game and also trailed Newell High in the first round, before sneaking a win.
Wedderburn knows however that Jamaica College is a far superior team that either of those teams and STETHS must come with their best game if they plan to make the Olivier Shield a contest and prevent a seventh-straight win for the Manning Cup winners.
It would augur well if they can replicate Saturday's start against Garvey Maceo, where they scored twice in seven minutes, but star strikers Khesanio Hall and Jovan James that has combined for 13 goals since the Inter-zone round, must step up and the supporting staff of Keano Williams and Donjay Smith who has not scored in the last four games must make their presence felt.