Top schools take aim at daCosta Cup
Tomorrow the drama and spectacle that is the ISSA/Flow daCosta Cup season will get under way and the expectation is that it will be a season of superlative football action.
Last year, with Patrick 'Jackie' Walters in charge, Clarendon College claimed the coveted title with victory over St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) and are among the favourites in this
But Paul 'Tegat' Davis, who is now pulling the strings, feels no pressure. Davis believes flying under the radar could make it better for the Chapelton-based school's prospect.
"This is a brand-new team we are working with and as a result the expectation may not be too high, which is good, because it gives us time to take each game one at a time and build our season," reasoned Davis.
"It is going to be a difficult season, which is why we need to make the players aware of what they will be playing for. Teams we know will be coming at us so we need that edge and we will be fine," said Davis.
Winning last year broke a 14-year title drought for Clarendon College and they will want to hold on to the title at least another season with coach Davis now in charge.
"While we are expecting a tough season with an almost brand-new squad, we remain champions and will compete as such. We are hoping to surprise the pundits with a solid season that could deliver for us the title once again," Davis said of the seven-time winners.
Cornwall College, who are the winningest school in the history of the competition with 11 titles to their name, will also be among the favourites, along with STETHS, Rusea's and Clarendon College. Glenmuir, champions in 2012, and Frome Technical, winners of the 2003 edition, could be spoilers.
Add for good measure the outside chances of Paul Bogle, Marcus Garvey High and Cedric Titus High and the plot begins to thicken rather quickly. These are the teams to watch, according to some pundits, but it's the Dr Dean Weatherly-conditioned Cornwall College who could be the team to watch.
Cornwall's title drought is now into its 14th year and only victory will appease their most rabid supporters. In fact, the current squad assembled by Weatherly could be the ones to break the winless cycle.
"It will be competitive this year and we have a good chance to go deep into the competition based on the fact these players have matured and are more experienced, plus we have seen the players become more mature, which bodes well for the season," said Weatherly. "Cornwall should be in a position to break the drought this year," he added.
Aaron Lawrence of Rusea's also has his eyes focused on the daCosta Cup title and is hoping to bring his school level with Cornwall on number of titles won. The Hanover-based school has 10 titles.
"We are a championship school. We thrive on competition and will raise our game and level each match. The heritage here is massive and Rusea's will be one of the schools to watch this year," Lawrence reasoned.
STETHS will also be tough. They have won the crown four times, their last being in 2013.
They will be challenging for all four titles on offer, but it's the coveted daCosta Cup they want the most.
"We want to win all four titles," declared the school's technical director, Wendell Downswell.
"The group of players we have is one that can do a good job. STETHS, this year, will be challenging on all four fronts," Downswell stated. "We have enough quality to push all the way," he said.