It will be yet another urban versus rural showdown in the ISSA Champions Cup today at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex as Clarendon College, Glenmuir, Hydel and Kingston College all hunt for a spot in the final of the all-island high school knockout competition.
In the first semi-final at 3:00 pm, 2021 Champions Clarendon College will battle Manning Cup finalists Hydel. Clarendon needed two late goals to beat St George’s College in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup last week and are coming off a tough daCosta Cup semi-final win over Garvey Maceo.
Head Coach Lenworth “Teacha” Hyde believes his team has recovered from the gruelling physical activity but has urged them to be mentally ready.
“The management staff did what they had to do to replenish them. All we can do now is get them in the right frame of mind; it’s a mind game now. The team that concentrates the most and sticks to the discipline on the pitch, I think that team will win the game. It’s all about executing what you’ve been practising all season so we just have to go out there and enjoy. We don’t want the players to be pressured; we just want them to have fun. We put ourselves in this situation where we can achieve a title so we’re going out there to do that and win this title again,” said Hyde.
He is also aware of the quality of this season’s surprise package, Hydel, but isn’t overly concerned about the threat they pose.
“We play against two or three teams that play like Hydel so we know how to play their system. But, as I say, it’s just a match-up of who wants it the most on the day will get it. We’re trying to be the team that is hungrier than the opponent and hope they can get it done. But I’m not pressuring the players, they put themselves in this position, so they have to go out there and try and perform at a 100 per cent,” he said.
Hydel have a rare shot of making two schoolboy finals after outlasting Kingston College (KC) last Friday. While their main priority seems to be the Manning Cup, Head Coach Devon Anderson insists the Ferry-based boys won’t roll over and die.
“To be honest, I don’t have to remotivate them; they are all motivated at this time and raring to go. We will play anywhere, anytime. These kids are ready, once I say battle, they are ready, I don’t fear none at all they will turn up. It will be a tough game, nevertheless,” said Anderson.
In the second semfinal at 5:30 pm, two time champions KC will be looking for redemption when they play daCosta Cup finalists Glenmuir.
The Clarendon-based school, who clipped Mona High 1-0 in the quarter-final last week, has certainly exceeded expectations this season and potentially have the chance to play in back to back finals.
KC Head Coach Vassell Reynolds has credited Andrew Peart for the work he’s done with Glenmuir and knows the challenge the North Street-based boys will face.
“I feel this encounter will be a chess game. Coach Peart and I would have been working together at the national level for nearly a year. We would have sat down and developed systems of play we really want to explore. Both teams would have doing similar work in terms of creating their own game model and we share ideas day in, day out. So I think this one will be very close and will come down to who executes the best on the day.”
Coaches Hyde, Anderson (with Holy Trinity), Reynolds (with Wolmer’s) and Peart (with Jamaica College) all have experience of guiding teams to the final of the competition.