JC expects ‘tough, gruelling season’ in Manning Cup
Taking nothing for granted and seeking to shrug the obvious favourites tag, Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Manning Cup champions, Jamaica College (JC), are cautiously optimistic about retaining their title when the 2015-16 season kicks off in September.
JC will lock horns with Calabar, Tivoli Gardens, Clan Carthy and St Catherine High schools in Group A, where the back-to-back champions are expected to win or place second in a 'reasonably' challenging group.
The Old Hope Road-based team was all-conquering in 2014-15 and all eyes will no doubt be on them to see how they fare in the next campaign.
Leading goalscorer Junior Flemmings netted more than 20 goals to give the Manning, LIME Super Cup and all-island Olivier Shield champions a sensational treble of wins.
Ian Forbes, the team's manager, won't be taking any opponent for granted. "It won't be easy," Forbes told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday. "I know it will be another tough season. We have a decent team and are expecting good results, but one thing we know for sure, it will be another tough, gruelling season."
He added: "I would say we have a reasonable unit. We have a system which starts from the under-14 right up, but we are in the process of rebuilding, having lost a number of senior players," he added.
That includes Flemmings, who might prove to be the difference between winning and losing the upcoming 2015-16 campaign.
Edith Dalton and Trench Town are the schools that have not been listed in this year's first-round fixtures.
Some teams out
ISSA competition's assistant, Stephanie Baker, notes that: "Edith Dalton High has not indicated participation yet, while Trench Town High is out by virtue of merging with Charlie Smith.
Meanwhile, Meadowbrook, Tarrant and Donald Quarrie High schools indicated they did not want to participate this year, which leaves the number of participating teams at 38 currently.
They are joined by Ascot and Kingston High, which did not participate last year.
The teams are zoned as follows:
Group A - Jamaica College, Calabar, Tivoli Gardens, Clan Carthy, St Catherine.
Group B - Hydel, Haile Selassie, Greater Portmore, Dunoon, Papine, Cumberland.
Group C - Innswood, St George's College, Eltham, Ardenne, Denham Town, Kingston Technical.
Group D - Charlie Smith, Holy Trinity, St Mary's College, St Andrew Technical, Penwood.
Group E - Wolmer's Boys', St Jago, Kingston, Mona, Bridgeport.
Group F - Excelsior, Vauxhall, Jonathan Grant, Ascot, Norman Manley, Spanish Town.
Group G - Camperdown, Kingston College, Campion College, JosÈ Marti Technical, Waterford High.