Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:00:08 -0500
JC, Dinthill, KC, Rusea's begin Super Cup questBY PAUL A REID
CATHERINE HALL, St James — The tempo is expected to rise several levels today as Dinthill Technical High and Kingston College (KC), losers in their respective knockout finals earlier this week, seek to stay on course for their first hold on the FLOW Super Cup when action continues with another double-header at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Dinthill Technical, who lost 1-4 to Clarendon College in the ISSA/FLOW Ben Francis Cup final at STETHS on Wednesday, will engage a resurgent Jamaica College (JC) in the first game set to start at 5:00 pm, followed by KC against Rusea's High in the 7:00 pm feature.
Of the four schools playing today only one, JC, has ever lifted the title in the four-year history of a competition that has added sparkle and elevated the level of excitement on the Jamaican schoolboy football landscape.
They will face a Dinthill Technical team coming off a hard loss, but Everton Burke, manager for the Ben Francis KO finalists, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that they had moved on from the loss.
“It was a tough loss for us,” Burke admitted, “but for us it is now water under the bridge and we have moved on and are focused on what is ahead of us. We are still in the running for three more titles — FLOW Super Cup, daCosta Cup and the Olivier Shield.”
Dinthill Technical have lost in the first round of their two previous appearances in the FLOW Super Cup — a CHIKV-ravaged team lost to Camperdown High in 2014, and last year they were 'upset' in Montego Bay by Bridgeport High, despite getting by far most of the scoring chances.
None of this matters today, Burke said. “We are ready for this game and we know what we are up against,” he said, insisting that the Ben Francis KO final on Wednesday was “our biggest game so far for the season”.
The team, he said, trained well on Thursday and again Friday morning before leaving for Montego Bay, and they showed no physical hangover from playing three Ben Francis KO games in eight days.
They were, however, exposed by a slick-moving Clarendon College team as after not conceding a goal in four games, they saw their defence breached four times in 110 minutes, three coming in the final 20 minutes of extra time.
The prolific Kaheem Parris, who at 17 has been called up to the national senior team, was kept quiet against Clarendon College on Wednesday, and no doubt the JC coaching staff will have plans for him today as well.
Dinthill Technical insist they are not a 'one-man team', with several other players scoring a lot of goals and will hope Andre Fletcher, Shamari Davis and Clive Freckleton come to the party.
JC, the most successful schoolboy team in the last five seasons or so, will be coming off a high after beating KC on Tuesday, but coach Miguel Coley, who won his first Walker Cup title, said his charges are still “hungry” for more success.
They will be hoping for another stellar performance from frontman Tyreke Magee, who will be aided by Shaniel Thomas and Norman Campbell in attack.
They won't be lulled into a sense of carelessness, he said, despite Dinthill Technical giving up three goals in extra time. “They are a very good team and we won't take them lightly.”
After their tough recent schedule, Coley said “preserving the legs of the players and managing the squad” would be important for this game.
JC have only lost once in the FLOW Super Cup after back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015, but Coley said he would be taking things “one game at a time, but we still have a winning mindset”.
Rusea's High were knocked out of the semi-finals of the Ben Francis KO last weekend, edged 1-0 by Dinthill Technical, and will be more rested than the others who all played tough games in midweek.
They face a KC team that was touted by many as the best schoolboy football team in the country, but they were taken down a peg or two by JC in the Walker Cup final on Tuesday and will be smarting from that defeat and raring to make amends.
Rusea's High are in back-to-back FLOW Super Cups after losing at the quarter-final stage to Cornwall College on penalty kicks last year, and both teams will be hoping to get to the semi-finals for the first time.
Vassell Reynolds, who took over the job at the Lucea-based school, said the game will be between two “wounded teams”, both coming off losses, and could be a “psychological battle”, decided by which team shows more “focus and composure”.
Reynolds, who should have first-hand knowledge of the KC team having coached Wolmer's Boys' School in the Manning Cup last year, said having a full week's rest had it pros and cons.
“Yes the rest was good for us as we welcomed the break after a hectic few weeks, but we would also want to maintain a rhythm and keep match sharpness as well,” he argued.
“This game will be critical for both teams; we have lost in one competition already and we both need to bounce back and start winning.” He also said that playing in western Jamaica could give them a slight advantage.
“We have played here (Montego Bay Sports Complex) a few times and with varying results, but the last time we were here it was a good one as we beat Cornwall College (after losing to Brown's Town the previous week), and we think we will have the western crowd behind us, so hopefully the team can feed off that. It will be an added motivation for the players.”
After being shut out against Dinthill Technical in the semi-finals of the Ben Francis KO last weekend, attacking players Daniel Reid, Leonardo Fogarthy and Nazeem Matalie will hope to test the KC defence.
KC will be expecting a lot from Rashawn Mackinson, playmaker Renato Campbell, and and former Under-17 representative Omar Thompson up front.
Fogarthy in particular was scoring at least one goal per game in their last four games up until the Ben Francis KO semi-finals, and they will be eager to impress in front of a 'home' crowd.
While admitting that the FLOW Super Cup was “less important than the Manning Cup”, KC's coach Ludlow Bernard said his team would be playing hard today as they would have a break before their next game.
Despite coming off a tough loss on Tuesday, he reported that the team was “very lively and raring to go, they are very upbeat”.
Bernard said fatigue was not an issue as the team is “well-conditioned”, but said “we had some issues with the flu, but we are all good to go now”.
He hinted that there could be changes to the team. “We could shuffle the deck as we have good depth in the squad and we can get good help off the bench as well, as we have quality players.”
JC vs Dinthill Technical @ MoBay Sports Complex @ 5:00 pm
KC vs Rusea's High @ MoBay Sports Complex @ 7:00 pm
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