'Bertis' Bell looking forward to STGC/JC clash after loss to KTHSThursday, November 25, 2021
Former ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup champions St George's College will face the only team to have won the title more than them, Jamaica College, in a crucial game on Friday as the teams pursue a spot in the quarterfinal round.
Group A has been described as the 'group of death' and so far, the top teams have been playing second fiddle to upstarts Kingston Technical High School who lead the group with nine points from four games.
STGC has six points from three matches, while Jamaica College has four points from three games.
Speaking after his team's first loss of the season, a 1-3 reverse to KTHS, STGC head coach Neville “Bertis” Bell admitted to being anxious ahead of the game against the champions.
“It's going to be tough. Our next game is Jamaica College and they always get high for us, but to be fair we always get high for them, so I'm excited, I'm anxious.”
Bell expressed confidence despite the loss and also revealed that, like most other schools, his team is a very young outfit.
“As you know this is a young team. We have one single player who played Manning Cup before, but I suspect a lot of the teams are like that, so I am not finding any excuses. We should have done better and we didn't, but we are still very, very confident.”
The experienced youth coach also heaped praises on the team that beat his on Tuesday.
“They beat Jamaica College before they played us and if you beat Jamaica College you must have some quality, so we were not surprised the way they played, we are more surprised the way we didn't play,” he said. “I thought we could have done much better in front of goal, but we didn't play badly, but they deserved the victory. They scored three goals, we scored one.
Bell thought that KTHS may have been more emotionally ready for the game than his team.
“They have some pretty decent players and they came very high for it. We probably could have been a little higher for it, but I am not surprised at all. It's a season that's going to be strange. A lot of us weren't training, a lot of playing with young players so you can't find any excuse, they deserve it and good luck to them as they move on.”
The STGC goalkeeper was clearly caught out by the strong wind when he conceded the first goal and Bell believes that was the major turning point in the game, with just three minutes on the clock.
“I think the first goal caught us because of the breeze, the goalkeeper I thought jumped a little too early and then the breeze stopped the ball so on his way down the ball just really arrived.
“I think that threw us off, that very early goal threw us off…and you play differently depending on the score so when you are behind you are chasing and when you are not behind you are more relaxed. We weren't relaxed at all, but to be honest, as much as we lost 3-1, I really don't think we played badly.”
Bell will know just how important a win against JC will be today, as well as how big an impact a fast start can have on their chances of getting a win and drawing closer to the quarterfinal round.