Sat | Oct 23, 2021

JC cautiously optimistic about Manning Cup defence

Published:Thursday | September 9, 2021 | 12:10 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica College team manager Ian Forbes lifts the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup trophy after the school’s victory in the final against St Andrew Technical High School at the National Stadium in Kingston on Friday December 1, 2017.
Jamaica College team manager Ian Forbes lifts the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup trophy after the school’s victory in the final against St Andrew Technical High School at the National Stadium in Kingston on Friday December 1, 2017.

When Jamaica College (JC) secured its 30th hold on the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup in 2019, no one knew that COVID-19 would wipe out the following season. Now, as JC readies its squad for a title defence in 2021, the mood at 189 Old Hope Road is one of cautious optimism.

The delay between the 2019 and the 2021 schoolboy football seasons has removed many student-footballers who might have played for JC in 2020.

“We have lost the bulk of those young men,” said JC Sports Committee chairman and team manager Ian Forbes on September 6.

“It’s unfortunate for some who would not have been able to participate in 2020 and those who would have done so and were expectant with respect to participating in 2020,” he said. “We’ve lost those, so we are in a rebuilding chain, and it’s a challenge but a challenge which we think we are up to.”

HOPING FOR GOOD RESULT

Asked for the school’s outlook for the upcoming season, the experienced Forbes offered, “Based on our culture, our determination, cautious optimism, and we’re just putting it to work, and we’re hopeful that once we do that, we’ll get a good result.”

The pandemic has affected how JC trains.

“It’s a very tough time, particularly with respect to the pandemic, so first thing, first priority, is to ensure that our young men, our sportsmen and others, are accommodated, or catered to, to get a safe and healthy environment as much as is possible based on the prevailing conditions, so the main thing we look at is the protocols which are to be observed and ensure they are observed fully.”

As it is for the entire school, the COVID-19 prevention protocols are top priority.

“Of course, we try to minimise risk as much as possible, and of course, physical distancing and the reduction in numbers, having them working in smaller groups,” Forbes said. “All those protocols are being practised.

“It’s applied at all levels from our security personnel through to our ancillary staff, admin staff, at all levels and layers. Throughout the system, it’s practised. So everyone knows the drill, and of course, it has become second nature.”

In addition, the squad has been vaccinated and is constantly monitored.

“We do that, and of course, we have ensured, particularly since it’s now become available, a vaccine for that age cohort, we have ensured that, pretty much, that they are 100 per cent vaccinated.”

The 2019 win not only marked the school’s 30th win overall, but also JC’s seventh victory in the competition from 2010 onward.

sports@gleanerjm.com