CC now focusing on Olivier Shield
Members of the triumphant Clarendon College team celebrate with the coveted trophy after beating Central High 3-0 in the ISSA/Wata daCosta Cup final at St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex on Saturday.

Though Clarendon College have reclaimed their ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup, Manager Richard Palmer says that the job is only half done as their real target is the Olivier Shield, which he views as the true emblem of all-island supremacy.

Palmer's side delivered a classy performance, blanking first-time finalist Central High 3-0 at the St Elizabeth Technical High Sports Complex on Saturday to become champions for the third time in four seasons.

Malachi Douglas (14th), Kristoff Graham (60th) and Keheim Dixon (85th) got the goals which propelled the Chapelton-based team to its 10th title, adding to those won in 1977, 1978, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2014, 2018, and 2019.

While proud and grateful that his team rewrote the daCosta Cup history books in honour of their Assistant Manager Neville "Manny" Peart, who recently passed away, Palmer said it doesn't tell the story of their objective.

"It's a good feeling to once again get our hands on the title, it's something that we want to normalise because when we won it [in] 2019, the plan was to maintain our hold on it and that's the culture we are trying to develop. So it's a work in progress where that is concerned," Palmer told the Jamaica Observer.

"But we have nothing to celebrate as yet because we have another game. At Clarendon College we don't operate like that, when the season ends then we celebrate," Palmer said, alluding to the Olivier Shield contest against Manning Cup champions Jamaica scheduled for December 14.

"So for now it's all work for the major game that we have coming up," he said. "We are confident, not overconfident or cocky, we want the kids to be focused and ready to do themselves justice and play the brand of football that they are taught."

Palmer lauded the standards set by Head Coach Lenworth Hyde in leading his side and admitted that overcoming the Champions Cup loss to Kingston College was easy as it did little to damage the pride he and everyone involved at Clarendon College felt ahead of the daCosta Cup title win.

"What is happening at Clarendon College is a team effort, because we all make decisions as a team," Palmer said. "So you could call it [season so far] a roller-coaster ride, but a failure no, it [the loss to KC] was just a bad day for us.

"How I see the Champions Cup, you play three games and win a title, it's not as prestigious as my daCosta Cup or Olivier Shield. I'm not taking anything away from KC, they are a very good team and 'Whisper' [Dujuan Richards] is a talented kid, neither am I disrespecting the Champions Cup, but if you compare both, I'll take the Olivier Shield any day."

Interestingly, when Clarendon College and Jamaica College met in the 2019 Olivier Shield clash, it was Palmer's side that reigned victorious, but for him that means very little heading into the rematch.

"We have one of the best coaches in schoolboy football that I think can contribute even to the national programme and I think we need coaches like that with a belief and culture and stick to it to ensure that its carried out," he said. "So we are grateful for the daCosta Cup but the work is not finished because again the Olivier Shield is the title.

"Jamaica College is a very good team, very deep squad, and I admire the job they are doing there but we are also a good team, playing quality football, so it should be a good game."

BY SHERDON COWAN Staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

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