STGC here to compete - Gayle
When St George's College (STGC) won their 22nd lien on the Manning Cup in 2012, no one foresaw the five-year run of dominance by Jamaica College that would follow. However, with tragedy and a period of rebuilding receding into history, St George's are once again ready to compete for trophies. That's the word from Marcel Gayle, assistant coach at the school with a list of Manning Cup titles that ranges back to 1912.
Tragedy struck in 2016 when captain Dominic James died from a heart-related malady, and the Neville Bell-coached Georgians have been in rebuilding mode since then.
"Last year, we were building and I thought we did well'", reflected Gayle at the launch of the 2018 schoolboy football season held at the Terra Nova Hotel on August 23. "We just didn't get any trophy but we're one year older with this team and, hopefully, we can put all the things in place to get success, but we'll take it one step at a time."
Apparently, preseason training has gone well. "I think they're responding well to the training. All I can sayis the sky's the limit for them, so we're competing this year."
St George's are in Group A for the first round of the Manning Cup alongside Cedar Grove Academy, 2017 runner-up St Andrew Technical, Papine, Cumberland and Tarrant High School.
"As you can see, the finalists are in our zone, so firstly we want to make it through our zone first."
Asked how new players react to the famous St George's football history which also includes 13 wins in the Olivier Shield, he said, "The first thing, we make them feel at home. What we try to inculcate down there is a level of family, a
sense of purpose, you being welcome, and we value what the student is worth and you're a student athlete, not professional players, and we make that clear to them that they are student athletes so your academics come first and foremost at all times."
St George's will play against North Street neighbour Kingston College in the traditional preseason Roper Cup today. While there will be matches for several age groups, including past students, the Manning Cup teams will meet at 4:15 pm.
The annual festival is being played this year at Emmet Park on the St George's College campus.