KC hope newcomer Allen can spark title conquest

Observer writer

Friday, September 21, 2018

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New Kingston College (KC) striker Okeeno Allen is excited about his new challenge in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup.

A year ago, Allen was representing Munro College in the DaCosta Cup, but the sixth-former made the switch to 2A North Street and has hit the ground running.

Five goals in three games sees him leading the scoring for the Kingston College who have started the season strongly with three wins from as many games as they sit atop Group B with maximum nine points.

Kingston College have a much changed team compared to the one they had last year that was expected to end their three-decade drought for Manning Cup glory.

That team took home the Super Cup, now renamed ISSA Champions Cup, but it was seen as a consolation prize by die-hard fans who will not accept anything other than the Manning Cup as true success. That trophy has resided at the home of their Hope Road rivals Jamaica College for the last five years.

Allen is happy with his start to the Manning Cup campaign and is hoping that things will only get better from here on in.

“It has been pretty good, I just had to be focused at the beginning and I want to carry it on to the end of the season,” he proclaimed after scoring the first goal in KC's 4-0 hammering of Calabar High at Red Hills Road on Tuesday.

It took him and his team on the stroke of half-time to break the Calabar resistance, but he was aware of what was required of him during the game.

“I was trying to be patient. As coach always says, be focused and be patient and it will come.”

KC scored three more goals in the second half and Allen notes that the message at half-time is what helped them to get the job done in the second 45 minutes.

“In the second half the aim was to press Calabar, don't give them as much time on the ball as we did in the first half and that is what we did,” he explained.

With just three games played in the season so far, KC's number 9 has achieved 25 per cent of his minimum target of 20 goals and explained that despite three major trophies being on offer for his team, one competition is the main focus for his school

“Our main focus is on the Manning Cup so the other cups will be a bonus. The team is in good spirits, right now we just have to keep focused and maintain our current form,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

But while most believe that the team is at a good place so early in the season, KC head coach Ludlow Bernard thinks otherwise.

“We should have been out of the blocks a lot quicker on this occasion. This is probably happening a bit too often now, so we need to address it in the training sessions, in the warm-up and just getting the psyche of the boys to be really quick out of the blocks,” said Bernard.

He did, however, feel that the three points against Calabar was a done deal from early out.

“Once we got the first goal we were always going to be comfortable with the composure and the confidence that would have been there and that is exactly what happened,” he explained.

Bernard believes that while Allen has been a great addition to the squad, there is still a lot more to be done before he becomes the finished article.

“He provides us with goals… he is a threat to the opposition with his pace, (but) he still has some way to go in terms of his game, moving in and out of defenders and really finding a niche for himself in which he can operate.”

Bernard is certain that things will be fixed in short order.

“I think it is all about the right combination of persons. As you realise, we have been rotating the team and to some extent we haven't gotten it right, but very soon we will get it right,” he said.

Dwayne Atkinson came off the bench to score the last two goals in the KC romp and he, too, came in for some praise from the man in the KC hot seat.

“It is not a surprise that he (Atkinson) got two, he has an appetite for the goal and that is what we need and we need impact coming from the bench. He will play a big role this season and I am glad that he was able to strike his third goal of the season today (Tuesday).” noted Bernard.

While the fans celebrate the good start that the “Fortis” has had to the season, the man tasked with wrestling the crown from JC is wary of the possibility of his players becoming laid back.

“My fear is that we don't get a level of complacency going into the next game because there is Mona to be played and Mona in fact defeated Calabar, so they will be a very good opposition.

“They will keep us on our toes, so we are hoping that we can maintain our form and lift our levels, because what happened here this evening, I know that this team can be better than that.”

Kingston College are due to take on Ardenne today before travelling to face Mona High on Monday.

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