Coley hails special Manning Cup title
"This is special." Those were the words of Jamaica College's (JC) head coach Miguel Coley after he guided his team to their fifth straight hold on the ISSA-Flow Manning Cup title at the National Stadium on Friday evening.
JC retained their title after defeating St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) 5-3 on penalties after both teams were locked at a 1-1 scoreline at full and extra time.
Shaniel Thomas scored for JC in the 30th minute, however, David Smith netted the equaliser for STATHS in the 40th minute.
JC, the first champions in 1914, have won the Manning Cup title more times than any other school. The Old Hope Road-based school now has 26 titles, four more than St George's College, while Kingston College are next with 14 titles.
"It's fantastic to win five straight titles anywhere in the world," said Coley. "It's a tremendous feat. We are a family together at JC, and we always keep focus and help each other," he said.
He added: "This means every single thing to me, and I am also happy for the boys who are winning the Manning Cup for the first time. They are special, these boys. I love them, and they have worked really hard. They have listened, and they have adapted to me, and I have adapted to them."
Coley pointed out that they were written off by many persons at the start of the season, but despite this, they were very focused and confident that they would have retained their title.
"It's football, and it's never a problem when people write you off because what were concentrating on is the first game against STATHS, and as we went along, we tried to work on the mentality because that's the most important thing," Coley said.
"Our captain (Maliek Howell) developed because he didn't have a very good season, but everybody started stepping up, and as the season progressed, we went to a new level and were able to win," he said.
Coley stated that they were very confident that they would have won the penalty shoot-out.
"This game was always going to be tough. STATHS are a very organised team with good defensive vigilance, and they really played well," said Coley.
"In the second half, they backed off a little bit because they wanted the penalties as they won a shoot-out against St George's College," he said.
However, I have some players that have been in penalty shoot-outs before, and so they kept their cool. I thought that if they (STATHS) wanted to go there, we will be there, and I am happy that we were able to keep our cool and win," Coley stated.