Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/LIME Manning Cup football competition moves into high gear with 12 games in three groups of the preliminary stage today.
The Group B contest between former champions Norman Manley High and St Jago High should steal the spotlight.
The full fixture reads: Group A - Hydel vs Edith Dalton James at Caymanas playing field; Jonathan Grant vs Calabar at Jonathan Grant High; Ascot vs St Andrew Technical High School at Ascot High. Group B - Excelsior vs Waterford at Excelsior High; Haile Selassie vs Cunmberland at Haile Selassie High; Norman Manley vs St Jago at Maxfield Park. Group E - St Andrew College vs Bridgeport at Rockfort playing field; Josť Marti vs Jamaica College at Edward Seaga Sports Complex. Group G - Innswood vs Meadowbrook at Chedwin Park; St Mary's College vs Trench Town at St Mary's College; and Campion College vs Holy Trinity at Campion College. All games kick-off at 3:30 p.m.
"I have come back to Norman Manley after five years coaching at Calabar and Munro College and am comfortably coming back. After over two months with the team in training, they are not where I want them to be,"Alrick Clarke, the man who guided Norman Manley to three Manning Cup titles and who is back in charge, told The Gleaner when contacted yesterday.
"I am still getting to know the players, and after this game against St Jago tomorrow (today), I will be able to make a better assessment of the team," he said. "St Jago has a good coach (Geoffrey Hewitt), so I am expecting a good game," Clarke added.
The coach also disclosed that his main players include Stephan Smith, Phillip Nelson, Stephan Brown, and Adrian Morrison - all returning from last year's team that advanced to the second round.
Meanwhile, the St Jago camp is oozing confidence as they expect to start on a winning note today.
"We expect to win. We are going there for all three points tomorrow (today)," Rohan Barnett, St Jago High's manager, told The Gleaner.
"We expect a good match from Norman Manley, but we are confident in our ability as this team is expected to advance from the group," Barnett confidently said.
St Jago's main players include Shawayne Barrett, Sanjay Clunis, Oshane Bish, Conaie Rose, Alex Gooden, Keino Allen, and Andrew Bailey.