Nothing to fear, says Waite
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Charlie Smith High's head coach Jerome Waite says he is not worried about his team's inexperience ahead of tomorrow's Manning Cup final against hot favourites and defending champions Jamaica College.
Charlie Smith are seeking their fourth hold on the trophy, having won the title in 1988, 1990 and 1995. The last time they graced the Manning Cup final was in 2011, when they were beaten 3-1 by triple champions St George's College.
However, they will face a very experienced JC team, led by former national Under-17 striker Junior Flemmings, along with the likes of Rafique Bryan, Sheldon McKoy, Rolando Brown, goalkeeper Courtney Dowdie and Allando Brown, who all played in last year's winning team.
"I am not worried about the inexperience of my players because what they have displayed all season is that they are title contenders," said Waite, who has been coaching at Charlie Smith since 1987.
"We have nothing to fear because we are up against a team who is the defending champion, and so we have nothing to lose. We just need to go out there and put our best foot forward," he said.
Waite added that most of his players have benefited a lot from playing in various youth leagues around the country and he and his coaching staff are now preparing them men-tally and physically for this final.
"Most of my players have gained a lot of experience from playing in the various youth leagues outside schoolboy football," he said.
"There is no concern or added pressure on my players, and so we are going to go out there and give it our best shot," Waite said. "Our chances are as good as the other team because we have reached the final and so we will be ready," said the veteran coach.
Charlie Smith secured their place in the final with a hard-fought 1-0 over preseason favourites Wolmer's Boys. Waite added that his players have recovered well from their semi-final victory over the Heroes Circle-based school.
"There are no injuries and so everybody is fit and ready for Saturday's final," Waite said. We have been having a number of tactical training and physical sessions heading into this final," he said.
Bebeto McDonald, who is Charlie Smith's leading goal scorer with nine goals along with Chevon Crooks, Shamar Pryce, Odane Samuels are all expected to feature prominently.