Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Manchester High will have their chance to exact revenge on St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) for losing the Ben Francis Cup knockout final two years ago.
However, that means they would have to do something no other school has been able to in this year's edition - defeat the St Elizabeth team - when they clash in the final at STETHS in Santa Cruz this afternoon, starting at 3.
The defending champions made the date a surety with a masterful come-from-behind 3-2 semi-final victory over the unlucky Paul Bogle in midweek to set themselves up for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Ben Francis Cup.
It will be two of the better teams thrashing it out for yet another title, both boasting arguably the best set of statistics in 2013 ISSA/LIME schoolboy football competitions, with several talented young players leading their lines.
For the unbeaten Manchester, attacking midfielder Isamnia Cohen is a little magician with the ball at his feet. His industry often lifts the rest of the Sheldon Davis-coached team and in a big final such as this one, much is expected from him if they are to lift the trophy for the first time.
"He (Cohen) is one of our most creative players; we look to him each day to get the job done and so it will be against STETHS in the final," said Davis.
"STETHS is a pedigree school," he added, "You just don't win back-to-back titles such as they have done and not be special. But I think this is our time. We have been knocking at the door quite a while now, and the boys are focused and confident that this is the year we will turn things around."
For STETHS, also unbeaten this year, it will be the usual reputation of their top striker Khesanio Hall (24 goals) who will no doubt draw much attention. But while goals are flowing at will for them, their defence must also be lauded.
The only time these schools met in the Ben Francis Cup competition was the 2011 final, which STETHS won 2-1 after coming from behind.
"We gave up two soft goals against Paul Bogle in our semi-final," said Omar Wedderburn, STETHS' coach. "There is no way we will allow that to happen in the final," he added.
"Manchester is a good team, but we are the stuff of which champions are made, and they will have to come good to get it from us," he reasoned.