Clash for the Cup - JC, Charlie square off in Manning final
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Reigning champions Jamaica College (JC) will be seeking their 26th lien on the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup when they oppose Charlie Smith High in today's big final at the National Stadium starting at 4 p.m.
It should be a close and exciting clash as both teams will be at full strength. In addition, they both play a similar attacking, free-flowing style of football, which should provide a lot of goals.
JC are the overwhelming favourites as they will assemble a powerful striker force which includes former national Under-17 striker Junior Flemmings, who has netted 20 goals this season, Akeem Shackleford, Raffique Bryan, Donovan Segree and Allando Brown.
The Old Hope Road-based school will also be banking on other experienced players such as Sheldon McKoy, Rolando Brown, and goalkeeper Courtney Dowdie, who, along with Flemmings, Bryan and Allando, played on last year's winning team.
With the LIME Super Cup already in the bag, JC are on course to win four titles this season and are oozing with confidence. The Miguel Coley-coached JC are also in the final of the Walker Cup KO which will be played next Thursday.
JC, who booked their place in the Manning Cup final with an exciting 4-2 win over Camperdown High, are ready to pocket their 27th title.
"We will most definitely be coming all out," said Coley. "It is a final and we want to put our best foot forward.
"I also want my boys to go out there and stick to the game plan and execute, be disciplined and work for each other, and, at the end of the day, win the game," Coley said.
Charlie Smith, 1-0 winners over Wolmer's Boys in their semi-final, are aiming for their fourth Manning Cup title, having won titles in 1988, 1990 and 1995.
The Jerome Waite-coached team are desperate to win the title again. They last graced the Manning Cup final in 2011 when they were beaten 3-1 by St George's College.
Underdogs Charlie Smith have a balanced team with forward Bebeto McDonald and midfielder Chevon Crooks leading their attack.
Waite says his team has nothing to fear and the underdogs tag will not prevent them from giving their best.
"Our chances are as good as the other team's," said Waite. "The fact that we have reached the final means that we will be ready."
McDonald and Crooks are expected to receive valuable support from Shamar Pryce and Odane Samuels in their quest to take the cup back to Arnett Gardens.