Fri | Oct 19, 2018

STATHS look to extend celebrations with semi-final win

Published:Wednesday | November 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp
NOWHERE TO GO: Rusea's Fabian Lawrence (second left) attempting to go past four St. Andrew Technical (STATHS) defenders, in action from December 5, 1987 Olivier Shield final leg at the National Stadium. The STATHS players from left are Dennis Brown, Carl Sewell, Carl Binger and Andrew Hart.
KC's Rashawn Mackison
JC's Tyreek Magee

St Andrew Technical (STATHS) are aiming to reach their first Manning Cup final since winning their only title in 1987.

Earlier this month, the Spanish Town Road-based school celebrated the 30th anniversary of the title win with a reunion dinner.

Now, STATHS, big underdogs for the 2017 title, are seeking to get past preseason favourites, Kingston College.

In today's ISSA-FLOW Manning Cup semi-finals, reigning champions Jamaica College will face Holy Trinity High at 4 p.m. before the STATHS, Kingston College clash at 6 p.m.

Coach of STATHS, Phillip Williams, feels it would be great to mark the anniversary with victory in today's semi-final.

"We are fully aware of the school winning their first title 30 years ago," Williams told The Gleaner on the eve of the game. "Based on the level of preparation we did in preseason, reaching the final would make it a fulfilling finish to the season for us ... the past students would love to add to the celebration," he added.

"KC are a good team, a very mature team. We will try to nullify their passing game as much as possible. This team has always been confident, so I expect no difference in this semi-final ... we are not fazed by KC," Williams reasoned.

And, Carl 'Badda' Sewell who was a then 16-year-old central defender on the 1987 team that whipped Excelsior 6-1 in the final at the National Stadium also said it would be a great achievement for this team beats KC and advance to the final.

"We are in the semi-final, still a contender, so we have a chance as any other team. The truth about STATHS is that they are a strong defensive team with an outstanding goalkeeper," Sewell who was a member of the 30th year celebration organising committee shared.

"I don't think we are potent offensively, but defensively, we are strong. We may not be going in there as the favourites, but '87, we were not the favourites. At this stage, we are not going to change how we play, we just hope that the team can get enough goals to win the game," he added.

STATHS have played 15 games in an unbeaten run in the Manning Cup. They have scored 22 times and conceded just six goals.

STATHS will be led by inspirational captain and goalkeeper Jaedine White who played a big role in the team's penalty shoot-out win against St George's College in the play-off game last Wednesday. White came up with two saves during and booted home the winning penalty for his team.

White apart, sturdy defender David Smith and diminutive striker Armani Reid are expected to give support.

The Ludlow Bernard-coached KC are fresh from a 2-1 victory against JC in the Super Cup semi-final last Saturday, and must be oozing confidence.

The Purples are a powerful aggregation with talented players such as Rashawn Mackison, captain Javain Brown, Fabian Grant, and Treyvon Reid.

Meanwhile, in the first game, champions JC are favoured to get past Holy Trinity.

JC's coach, Miguel Coley, will be looking to advance to his fifth final in the Manning Cup since moving from Norman Manley four years ago. The Old Hope Road-based school has won the title for the past four years.

JC's key players include arguably the best schoolboy midfielder in Tyreek Magee, as well as captain Maleke Howell, Norman Campbell, Shaneil Thomas and Tevin Rochester.

Holy Trinity, under the guidance of coach Devon 'Pablo' Anderson, cannot be written off, however. They could surprise with players such as captain and top striker Shai Smith, central midfielder Dante Green and central defender Fabrizzo Burton.