Manchester, STETHS clash for Ben Francis crown
Manchester High School has met St Elizabeth Technical in three finals over the past five years; once in the daCosta Cup and twice in the Ben Francis KO. Their coach Donovan Duckie believes a fourth time could be the charm.
Both schools, having registered dramatic semi-final victories, will lock horn this afternoon at Juici Field, Clarendon Park, with kick-off scheduled for 2:45 pm.
Their shared history, in part, makes this final one not to miss. They are two of the most proficient attacking teams and are coached by two of Jamaica's best youth coaches, and Duckie is relishing the prospect of taking one over the five-time defending champions.
"History would be on STETHS' side, as they have defeated us twice already in the final of this competition, but Manchester could be psychologically damaged by that," the straight talking Duckie stated.
"However, there must be no doubt in the minds of players and fans that we intend to win this title that has been eluding us forever it would seem. Therefore, we are going to give it our all and our best shot and hopefully, that will be good enough," he said.
According to coach Duckie, both teams are equally strong and have shown impressive signs that they will score when need to. He was quick to remind that Manchester eased into the Inter-Zone round of the main competition - the daCosta Cup outscoring every other team along the way.
No more domination
"I see no reason why we will not do so again against this STETHS side. The domination they held over Manchester High is slowly changing," Duckie said.
However, for Wedderburn, this is a chance to write a new chapter in the dominance of this competition, which they have won since 2011.
"There is a nice vibe in the camp right now, and while we are defending champions, we really do not think too much about that, because if we lose we will be regarded as beaten finalists," Wedderburn said.
"So, instead of focusing on what we have already accomplished, we have set our eyes and mind on getting a hold on this year's title," he said.
He noted that all entrants had the same mindset to get to the final, but with only Manchester standing between them and a record sixth-straight Ben Francis title, the focus must be right.
"We have not won any title yet this year, so this one is our first opportunity to do so and we are ready for the challenge that Manchester brings to this game," reasoned Wedderburn.
STETHS are locked and loaded with talent in all departments, but special mention must be made of their prolific striker Michael 'Diddy' Kerr, who has netted a competition-leading 28 goals and counting.
"He is a wonderful player, but it's always going to be a team effort, and they showed that in the semi-final. Now, we come up against a tough and well-rounded Manchester team. We have to double our efforts," Wedderburn noted.
STETHS have won titles in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and are looking to add another to their illustrious run and to add further polish to their fans' claim o being 'knockout kings'.