Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Battle of the blues

JC, St George's clash in crucial Manning Cup Group A game

Published:Friday | November 26, 2021 | 8:27 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter -
Duncan McKenzie of Jamaica College (right) tries to get around Kareem Griffiths of Charlie Smith High School during their ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match held at Ashenheim Stadium in St Andrew on Saturday.
Duncan McKenzie of Jamaica College (right) tries to get around Kareem Griffiths of Charlie Smith High School during their ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match held at Ashenheim Stadium in St Andrew on Saturday.
Bridgeport High School’s Odin Ranger (left) presses St George’s College’s Joshua Jackson during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at the Spanish Town Prison Oval in St Catherine on Saturday.
Bridgeport High School’s Odin Ranger (left) presses St George’s College’s Joshua Jackson during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup match at the Spanish Town Prison Oval in St Catherine on Saturday.
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Jamaica College (JC) head coach Davion Ferguson says that he is focused on his players doing their jobs as they take on many-time champions St George's College in Group A of the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup today at Stadium East at 3 p.m.

After three games into the season, both teams are slowly running out of opportunities to give themselves a chance at qualifying for the next round. While JC recovered from their slow start to win their first game of the season against Charlie Smith last Saturday, St George's were stunned by Kingston Technical High 3-1 on Wednesday, snapping their two-game winning streak and reducing the margin for error for the remaining three games.

"I think, based on how the group has turned out thus far, it is clear that you cannot take any game likely," Ferguson told The Gleaner. "We were beaten by Kingston Tech. St George's were also beaten by Kingston Tech. We have to try and build some momentum now.

"We know what St George's are about and I believe that, based on our preparation during the last few days, and watching the teams that we have been playing in our group, we should be in good stead heading into that game on Friday (today)."

While it would seem that JC will enter the game the fresher of the two teams, having extra days to prepare for the game, Ferguson says that St George's may have the edge in terms of match sharpness, having played a game just two days ago.

"I think, at this stage of the season, based on the long time off, I think that they would have had an advantage in terms of being in that match readiness or match state," he said. "Because having to wait that long is not ideal, especially when you are trying to build momentum in a short competition. It is important that, quickly, we try to get a rhythm going.

"We are just trying to focus on ourselves because, for us, the most important thing is trying to get our game right."

The defending champions, JC, are in fifth place with four points, tied with Calabar who lost to Kingston High School on Wednesday. St George's are in third place with six points, tied with Charlie Smith High School, but with an inferior goal difference. They are chasing Kingston Technical, who lead the group with nine points.

St George's assistant coach Marcel Gayle says that they cannot afford any more slip-ups, based on the unpredictability of the group. He says that, despite the inexperience of the young talent, they are ready to make a push towards the next round and beyond.

"It's still a work in progress but I still think we have enough and can go all the way," Gayle said. "But we will take it a game at a time.

"All being equal, we are not making excuses and going out there and, from minute one to minute 90, we are going to try and play good football."

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com

Today's games

Group A

Charlie Smith v Calabar 12 p.m. Stadium East

St George's v Jamaica College 3 p.m. Stadium East

Kingston High v Bridgeport High 3 p.m. Spanish Town Prison Oval

Group C

Clan Carthy v Wolmer's 3 p.m. Ashenheim Stadium