Do Manning Cup routs pass sniff test?
Like many other Jamaicans, I am utterly flabbergasted by the result of Wednesday's final set of matches in the quarter-final round of the Manning Cup. The lopsided scores are causing many pundits to scratch their heads in disbelief, and most people agree with ISSA's decision to launch an immediate investigation.
That the public is suspicious is entirely understandable. I can't think of any other time in the Manning Cup's long history when we would have seen results like these, one game away from the semi-finals.
Holy Trinity is in the final of the LIME Super Cup. They got there by being very impressive, beating some big teams, including the highly touted Wolmer's, and the much-rated Clarendon College, the side that's perhaps joint favourites to lift the daCosta Cup, along with STETHS. For them to get 12-0 from Excelsior boggles the mind.
We have heard the argument that Holy Trinity could have qualified for the semi-final had they beaten Excelsior and JC lost to Denham Town, and that they started a lot of second-string players. It's not far-fetched, but is that all there is to it? Is the difference between your first team and a team that didn't start, say, half a dozen senior players, really a dozen goals?
Let's face it. The Holy Trinity players would have known that a huge loss to Excelsior would likely eliminate Jamaica College (JC) from the Manning Cup semis. If JC got knocked out of the Manning Cup, they would likely be a deflated bunch, and that would make their big clash against Holy Trinity all the more difficult for them this Saturday.
On Saturday, a lot is at stake. JC will meet Holy Trinity in the final of the LIME Super Cup. There is $1.5 million at stake, plus the bragging rights to be, in effect, all-island schoolboy champions. I'm not suggesting that the Holy Trinity players did anything untoward. One doesn't have the evidence to prove any such thing, but one must ask, how much of all this was in their minds in that game against Excelsior?
A goal a minute!
And that JC versus Denham Town game was even more astonishing: 16-0! Half a dozen goals in time added on! This must be some kind of record. I've already heard suggestions that we contact the Guinness Book of Records. To score half a dozen goals at the rate of one per minute does take some doing.
Remember, after every goal, it's the other team that does the kick-off. Which means that, after all of these goals, JC players would have had to take away the ball from these Denham Town players and then waltz their way through a team and kick directly past the keeper.
This JC team should be used to represent Jamaica at next week's Caribbean Cup. Surely, our national senior team wouldn't be able to do any better than that. That level of dominance and shooting ability, that capacity to get by defenders, to forge a strategy and tactics that see so many unanswered goals in so short a time, is probably unparalleled.
Miguel Coley is the assistant national coach. Many people were wondering why. After Wednesday, the answer should be obvious. Very few coaches in our history could have fired up his charges to turn in a performance like that. If the day should come when Schäfer might have to go, we need look nowhere else for his replacement. Indeed we probably should make Coley the senior coach now, with Schäfer assisting him!
We understand that the Excelsior-Holy Trinity game started later than the JC-Denham Town match. Why was that allowed? It's standard in football that when teams are dependent on other teams' results to go through, the clocks must be synchronised and both games start at the same time. If, for some reason, one game has to start late, that should be communicated to the referee in the other game and he would then wait so that each game starts simultaneously, to prevent any team from having an advantage. I'm not saying that that had anything to do with the results yesterday, but one has to eliminate these possibilities.
Wednesday's results may be purely coincidental, but they leave a bad taste in our mouths as we wind down to the Manning Cup final.
Orville Higgins is a sportscaster and talk-show host at KLAS ESPN Sports FM. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.