Familiar foes, same venue - STETHS, Lennon clash again
Losing the Ben Francis Knockout (KO) title stung hard, but the sting may just be what defending champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) needed to keep their minds firmly focused on holding on to the prized ISSA-FLOW daCosta Cup.
However, Lennon, still high after stopping the STETHS knockout juggernaut reaching a record seven-straight, will, no doubt, have something to say about it when the two meet in what is expected to be another tense affair in this afternoon's 2016 daCosta Cup schoolboy football semi-final. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. at Manchester High School.
This is a competition that the STETHS players and, indeed, their coach Omar Wedderburn will admit, is the big one, and they will be ready and waiting to deny Lennon any chance of denying them a return to championship game.
"All my players are up and ready. This is why we play the game of football. I made no bones about how significantly important this daCosta Cup title is to us. We are going out there to win and move into the final," said Wedderburn in his characteristically confident tone.
A win today for STETHS would land them in a fifth successive daCosta Cup final, but it would mean much more if they stop Lennon of all the other teams from advancing.
"We have the players to do the job. We lost the knockout title to them, but we will not surrender the daCosta Cup. We gave ourselves a target, a mission, which is to defend our crown. We are just two games away from doing so," added Wedderburn.
Without top scorer Jovoney Brown (foot injury), it will be up to the likes of Glendo Gopaul, Alex Thompson, Demar James and Chris-Andrew Dixon to deliver.
Meanwhile, for Lennon, it's a simple equation. Keep James, Thompson and Dixon quiet, play hard and compact in defence, and take their chances.
Last year, Lennon fell at this stage, but buoyed by their recent success, it is expected they will be up for this semi-final.
"We are hoping to defeat STETHS again and take our place in the final. I believe we can do it for our school and the community," said captain Fitzroy Cummings.
Lennon's head coach Merron Gordon is confident his team can deliver another stinging loss on STETHS, but warned his players about being complacent.
"We have STETHS to deal with for a place in the final. I can tell you, we are prepared for it. Lifting the KO trophy was a great taste of victory. Now we want the big one," Gordon reasoned.
The reliable Cummings, Kwesi Watts, Tavis Grant and the brilliant goalkeeping of Tyrone Mullings make this Lennon team formidable opponents.