‘IT’S WELL OVERDUE!’
HEAD coach of St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) Phillip Williams says he is upbeat and confident that the school can break its 36-year-old drought and win this year’s ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup title.
STATHS, who last won the Manning Cup in 1987, have been one of the most consistent teams in the Corporate Area’s most prestigious schoolboy football competition, having been to three finals in the last five years and five semi-finals during that period.
The Bumper Hall-based boys, who are been unbeaten this season, are heavilty touted as one of the favourites to win this year’s crown.
STATHS are the number one-seeded team entering the start of the second round of competition, when they will go up against Kingston Technical.
Williams, who has been the head coach of STATHS for the past five years, admitted they are desperate to break their almost four-decade drought.
“We have been doing well since 2017, and I think that based on that it [title] is well overdue for us now,” said Williams. “It is going to take consistency of quality every day, and that is what it is going to take for us to win this competition… and a little luck.
“We do have the depth and, like I have said before, this is a maturing programme and we have the boys coming up from the Under-14 and Under-16 programmes and so we do have the depth that can carry us all the way this season,” he said.
STATHS finished atop Zone D with maximum 30 points from 10 matches. They have scored 48 goals while conceding a mere two in this season’s tournament.
However, their hearts were broken in 2022 when they lost 7-8 on penalties to Jamaica College (JC) in the final of the competition at the National Stadium. This after both teams had played out a 1-1 draw after full and extra time.
Williams, who is the head coach of Jamaica Premier League outfit Portmore United, pointed out that his team is still devastated by last year’s penalty shoot-out defeat to JC, and have taken steps to prepare the boys mentally and physically to deal with whatever pressure may arise during this season’s campaign.
“The pressure that is on us is what we set out for ourselves. We motivate ourselves and we set the bar high for ourselves, and so in terms of pressure on winning the Manning Cup, that isn’t any pressure at all,” he said.
“We are playing well and [attaining the position of] the number one seed is because of what we did already and projection from the end of last season,” Williams added.