Tomlinson does not want to play at STETHS

WESTMORELAND, Jamaica — Everton Tomlinson, head coach of the Manning’s School daCosta Cup team says that he would prefer to play their ISSA Champions Cup Knock-out first round game against Jamaica College in Kingston rather than play at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz.

Tomlinson, who also protested playing the semi-finals of the daCosta Cup at STETHS last season, said his team was being “deprived” of playing at the best facility — the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

The schedule for the remainder of the schoolboys' football competition was published on Wednesday evening and the semi-finals and final of the daCosta Cup as well as games in the Champions Cup would be played at the St Elizabeth complex.

Manning’s will play Jamaica College in the second game of a double- header on Saturday, starting at 4:15 pm, after Manchester High meets St Andrew Technical in the 2:00 pm game.

Tomlinson told OBSERVER ONLINE on Thursday his players “were not comfortable” having to play so many games at STETHS, “it’s almost as if STETHS is our home ground now.

Meanwhile, the other three semi-finalists in the daCosta Cup told OBSERVER ONLINE they had no issues playing at STETHS.

Lenworth Hyde, the head coach at Clarendon College who Manning’s will play in the daCosta Cup semis, said they had no issues playing there, “Mr Wellington (principal of STETHS and president of ISSA) always takes care of us when we play there so we are good.”

Jermaine Douglas, coach of first- time semi-finalists Central High said he had not even had time to think about where the game would be played.

“I can only think about the controllables, the things we can control,” adding that he had not been to the venue in a few years but said it would not be an issue for his team.

Johnoy Chambers, the coach of Manchester High who are in the semis after a long layoff said the choice of venue was “no big deal.”

Chambers said “the surface is good and conducive to our style of play,” and pointed out that despite their quarter final game against William Knibb being held up after the field at STETHS got flooded on Saturday, “we were able to continue in good time.”

Tomlinson told OBSERVER ONLINE that since last season, “our players have always wanted to play at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, we took them to watch the Reggae Girlz game last week and they enjoyed the atmosphere and were all talking about playing there.”

He said he had spoken to ISSA officials and had registered his disgust at having to go back to St Elizabeth saying, “as a sports administrator myself, not as a coach, this action by ISSA cannot be justified.”

-Paul Reid

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