Calabar seek fourth Manning title
Calabar High School's new head coach, Lijyasu 'Shaka' Simms, is oozing confidence in his team's ability to win their first Manning Cup schoolboy football title since 2005.
Simms, who was assistant coach to David 'Wagga' Hunt (now deceased) when the Red Hills Road-based institution won the Manning Cup for the third time in 2005, and also won the Olivier Shield - symbol of schoolboy football supremacy - said his team could go all the way. Calabar won the Manning Cup for the first time in 1943. They also won in 1977.
Calabar High's confidence soared following a 1-0 win against defending Manning Cup champions Jamaica College during the Keane/Crosskill Memorial Festival at Barbican playing field on Sunday.
"Well, we are in preparation mode for the Manning Cup competition," Simms, who took over from veteran coach Bradley Stewart during the summer, told The Gleaner yesterday.
"We have less than two weeks to go. JC weren't at full strength, but it is certainly is a confidence boost for Calabar," Simms added.
Simms believes his team's chances of lifting the trophy later this year are high.
"Our chance is as good as any other team. We are preparing to go all the way. The boys are very determined to win the title. They are training hard for this," the former Meadowbrook High Manning Cup defender outlined.
He noted that Calabar is not about individuals, but will be focusing on team strength to get the task done.
"We have a team willing to work for each other. "We are placed in a group I refer to as the 'Group of Death' in the preliminary stage," Simms further said.
With regards to support, Simms said that the school board, the old boys' association and others are fully behind the Manning Cup programme.
"The support from the school, led by principal Albert Corcho, as well as the old boys' association, has been great. I can't complain," he said.
Calabar are in Group G alongside former champions Bridgeport High, plus Hydel, Cumberland, St Jago High and Campion College.
Calabar will play their opening game against Bridgeport High at Calabar Stadium on September 10, starting at 3:30 p.m.