Charlie, Excelsior in big clash
Charlie Smith High will aim to increase the distance between themselves and Excelsior High when the teams meet in a crucial Group B match in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup football competition at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Trench Town today. Kick-off time is 3:30 p.m.
The 1995 champions lead the group on 13 points from five games, ahead of Excelsior (10), Vauxhall (5), and Mona and Cumberland, both on a point apiece.
And, a win today for 'Charlie' will put them six points clear of Excelsior with two games in mind.
Coach of Charlie Smith, Jerome Waite, is fully aware that maximum points today will put his team in a strong position to win the group and secure a spot in the inaugural LIME/Super Cup.
"Well, it is a crucial game for both teams as a win would certainly put us in a much better position to qualify for the Super Cup," Waite, a veteran schoolboy coach told The Gleaner yesterday.
"It should be another physical encounter as Excelsior have some big players. In the first game at Excelsior, they scored first and we had a come-from-behind 3-1 win. Hopefully, we will take the lead tomorrow and maintain it to the end," he said.
Affected by chikungunya
Injuries apart, the dreaded chikungunya virus has affected the team. They will, however, be boosted by the return of captain and goalkeeper Leon Taylor, who missed the last two games due to injury.
Several players are recovering from the virus, including the team's top scorer, Bebeto McDonald, who has scored eight goals so far.
Meanwhile, coach of Excelsior, Lebert Halliman, says despite the chikungunya virus that has affected half of his squad, the aim is to get maximum points.
"It is an important game, we need the points. We hope to go there and play our match and win," Halliman, who guided Excelsior to Manning Cup titles in 2003 and 2004, said.
Excelsior will rely on players such as Samuel Halliman (nephew of the coach), Tereek Anderson and Hishrock Francis for victory.
- Marc Stamp