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KC hotshot Atkinson credits hard work

Published:Wednesday | November 20, 2019 | 12:49 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
 Dwayne Atkinson
Dwayne Atkinson

Kingston College are on the verge of a title double in this year’s schoolboy football season.

The defending ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup champions face Jamaica College in today’s semi-final at the National Stadium at 5:00 p.m and will look to dethrone Clarendon College in the final of the ISSA Champions Cup this Saturday. The one constant for the team’s success in 2019 has been the play of their striker, Dwayne Atkinson.

Atkinson was part of last year’s success, helping to capture the Purples’ first Manning Cup title in more than three decades. The main adjustment from last season’s squad to this year’s he says, is the integration of the new players who made their tournament debuts.

“It’s much different because you have some guys coming from Pepsi, Colts, and now are playing in the Manning Cup, and we have built good chemistry between them and I,” Atkinson told The Gleaner. In addition to his team’s success, the 17-year-old is also in the running for individual honours, specifically scoring titles on both fronts.

He has managed to terrorise opposition defences with 18 goals in the Manning Cup, and he has contributed with two in the Champions Cup, one behind Jamaica College’s Philon Lawrence.

Fierce opposition

Sharing second place with Atkinson is Clarendon College’s Sheldon Smart and Rodrick Granville, who will provide fierce opposition when they meet in the final. Atkinson’s Champions Cup form has earned three KFC Man of the Match awards, an accolade reflective of his stellar play this year.

It could have been a different story had things turned against them in their final Manning Cup quarter-final group game against Camperdown High on November 12. Needing only a point to secure passage to the semi-finals, it was Camperdown that took the early lead. Atkinson’s goal in the 46th minute started a comeback en-route to a 2-1 win that secured their advancement. That game, he says, was the toughest of the season to date.

Now in his third Manning Cup season, Atkinson credits his performances to his commitment in training and the mindset of always giving maximum effort every time he puts on the Kingston College jersey.

“The hard work that I always keep putting in training, I just continue to work till it pays off,” Atkinson shared.

He will be hoping that his work will continue to pay dividends in his upcoming assignments.