Showdown for the crown - JC, Wolmer's clash in Manning final
Wolmer's Boys will go in search of their first Manning Cup title in more than 20 years when they square off against three-time defending champions Jamaica College at the National Stadium this evening at 6 o'clock.
Both teams scored easy wins in the semi-finals last weekend and today's battle, between two of the island's top traditional schools, should be close.
JC welcomed back talented Tyreek Magee from injury last weekend and he will be a key man for them today.
Magee who recently attended a Digicel Kickstart camp at Manchester City in England, was very impressive in last week's match. He dictated play in midfield and he must be kept quiet today if Wolmer's hope to dethrone JC.
Also expected to shine for JC are Ronaldo Brown, captain Oquin Robinson and leading forward Duhaney Williams.
Wolmer's have come on by leaps and bounds in the latter part of the season and look the team to beat after they lifted the FLOW Super Cup on November 12. Big striker Alphonson Gooden has been leading the way up front while captain Jahwani Hinds has been a tower of strength in defence. Rivaldo English and Andrew Daley are two other key players for Wolmer's.
Wolmer's coach Vassell Reynolds says his team is bursting with confidence from the FLOW Super Cup victory and their sights are firmly set on the Manning Cup.
"I think we will win but it's two good teams and we will have to go with our A game," he said. "I told people even before the Super Cup that since I have been coaching I have never seen this level of confidence amongst my players. And since we won the Super Cup and the (Manning Cup) semi-final the confidence has risen," he told The Gleaner.
Reynolds admitted that their defence has been their strength but said they are just as good in attack as they have scored 45 goals in 14 Manning Cup matches.
" ... But this is a final and both teams will be motivated to give their best, as it is the Manning Cup at stake. But we need it more than them ... I think we will give our all and I am certain that with a little luck the Manning Cup will be at Heroes Circle," he stated.
Many have argued that Miguel Coley's JC have not faced any of the tournament's big guns to date this season, and that Wolmer's are more battle ready but Coley is not perturbed and is just happy to be in the final.
"Winning the Manning Cup is always on our agenda and being in the final gives us the best chance to go out and achieve our objective. Before the semi-finals people were saying Holy Trinity are a big team, a tricky team and how they were going to defeat us but we crossed that hurdle .
"We realise that this (JC) team is under-appreciated but we respect every team. We have a final in front of us and in terms of a big team, we have Wolmer's in front of us and that's the most important thing," he commented.
He noted that Wolmer's will be on a high after their Super Cup triumph and says full respect must be shown to them.
"They are good competitors, they are in the final, we respect them. They have won a competition so far, so we have to give respect to that as well. But we know our strength, we know our determination and what we are all about... So it's about character, determination and the whole Jamaica College product," he concluded.