KC’s new head coach says he’s not under duress to retain Manning Cup this season
WITH THE Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Manning Cup competition scheduled to begin soon, newly appointed head coach of defending champions Kingston College (KC), Raymond ‘Stampy’ Watson, said that he is not under any additional pressure to deliver a title this season.
Watson, who has been an assistant coach to Ludlow Bernard at KC since 2018, took over from the latter at the end of last season, after winning the Manning Cup and Olivier Shield titles, respectively.
“There is no pressure on me at all because whatever pressure Mr Bernard was under I was under it too, because I was doing interviews and I was taking responsibility for the team a lot of times during the season,” said Watson.
Out there to lead
“I consider myself to be in the role from 2018,” he said of his new role. “It is just the acronym of a ‘title’ that says I am the head coach because working with Mr Bernard, I was always put out there to lead,” said Watson, who attended KC.
“This is nothing new for me because the work that I put in remains the same like when I was an assistant coach,” he reaffirmed.
“Honestly, I am an old boy myself and I know what the Kingston College fraternity requires from this team, because they love winners,” he said. “But people have to understand that we are in a rebuilding mode and we didn’t win titles for many years, even at the youth level.
“We have turned things around, but we may have to wait a season or two to rebuild the programme. I know what Kingston College people love, but to tell you the truth I am under no pressure right now,” Watson said about delivering the title this season.
Pointing to the fact that 19 of the players from last year’s 24-man squad won’t be returning to school, Watson pointed to the difficulty in retaining the title and noted that the school’s supporters should lower their expectations as the team is in a rebuilding phase.
KC are drawn in Zone A alongside North Street rivals St George’s College, archrivals Calabar High, Pembroke Hall High, Ardenne High and Eltham High.
He underscored that the average age of this season’s team is 17 and, therefore, a lot of these players will have another two years at the North Street-based institution.
“We have a lot of youngsters who can repeat for another two seasons so there is immaturity among the group. But just being that we are Kingston College, we are always confident and ready to face any difficulty,” Watson said.
“We have lost 19 players from last season, but the expectation is to be in the second round and whatever we get from there will be a bonus,” he said.