Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Underdogs hunt Walker Cup glory

Published:Saturday | November 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott
St Andrew Technical's Steven McQueen and Jamaica College's Tyreek McGhee (foreground) fight for possession of the ball during a ISSA-Flow Manning Cup contest earlier this season.

Calabar and St Andrew Technical will go in their ISSA-FLOW Walker Cup semi-finals, scheduled for the Stadium East field this afternoon, as underdogs against their more fancied opponents Jamaica College and Kingston College, respectively, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

However, the two dark horses are looking to upset the applecart and book their place in Tuesday's finale.

Calabar face Jamaica College in the opener, and although coach Lijyasu Simms anticipates that his boys will have a very difficult afternoon against the reigning Manning Cup holders, he strongly believes that if his players give their best, victory will be theirs.

"The second round was never going to be easy, so it's (the game) going to be tough. JC is a well-organised team, but we know what we have to do and we are going out to do our best, and I guarantee once we give our best, the rest is history.

"We, being underdogs, is not a problem to me. We have nothing to lose, all we have to do is give of our best. I am not asking my team to do miracles. I am just asking them to give their best and that's good enough for me," he added.

 

LINCHPINS

 

Tyreke McGhee and Maleik Howell, have been the linchpins for the Old Hope Road-based school this season, along with young striker Shaneil Thomas and veteran midfielder, Tevin Rochester, and Simms said stopping McGhee and Howell will be key in stopping the 'Dark Blues'.

"They (JC) have been playing through Number 10 (McGhee) and Number 7 (Howell), and once we shut down those two and keep the other players in check, we should be on our way. We respect our opponents, but we have no fear and we are well prepared," he assured.

The Red Hills Road-based school will look to captain Hakeem McKoy, Di Andre Burrowes, Matthew Sterling, Kalfari Brown and Colin Anderson to get them into the final.

In the second match, Manning Cup favourites and the competition's best attacking team, Kingston College, match up against the best defence in St Andrew Technical.

Kingston College have netted an impressive 73 goals this season. But they will be up against the tournament's best goalkeeper in Jaedin White and the league's meanest defence, with just six goals leaked all season.

 

DEFENCE IS KEY

 

Although technical director, Michael Williams, admitted White and his defence will be key to victory, he argued that they need to attack as well.

"As the tournament progresses, we are getting better and a little sharper. It's tough going up against stalwarts like Kingston College, but we are up for it. We haven't scored a lot of goals, but we have created a lot of opportunities, and once we can continue to create those opportunities, goals will come."

However, he added that, "When you have two good teams up against each other, the goalkeepers at times make the big difference. The goalkeeper (White) is a plus. We have the better goalkeeper, the best in the competition and he is certainly living up to that so far. But we have to transition in attack whenever they lose the ball. We can't just defend. We have to attack swiftly when we win the ball and try to put KC on the back foot," he said.

- Jamaica College v Calabar at Stadium East 2 p.m.

- Kingston College v St Andrew Tech at Stadium East at 4 p.m.