Jamaica Gleaner / The showdown for the Manning Cup, the Corporate Area’s most prestigious schoolboy football title, is on this evening at the National Stadium. Kick-off time is 6 p.m.
Defending champions Jamaica College (JC), now seeking a fifth straight title, will square off against St Andrew Technical (STATHS), who are hunting their second title.
JC, the first champions in 1914, have won the Manning Cup more times than any other school. The Old Hope Road-based school has 25 titles, three more than St George’s College while Kingston College, are next with 14 titles.
Miguel Coley, one of the most successful coaches in recent schoolboy history, will be aiming to lead JC to their second title this season. They defeated arch-rivals Kingston College 2-1 to win the Walker Cup KO competition last month.
JC then scored a nailbiting 3-2 extra-time victory over Holy Trinity High to secure their spot in today’s final. In that match, the champions trailed 2-1 in extra-time before two goals in five minutes sealed their victory.
Today’s final is expected to be very close and could go down to penalty kicks. The two schools met twice in the preliminary round of the competition and both games ended 1-1.
The player to watch for JC is leading scorer and creative midfielder Tyreek Magee, who, with his deft touches, has been a crowd favourite this season.
Magee is expected to receive good support from Shaniel Thomas, Tevin Rochester, captain Maliek Howell, Delverone Simpson, and Norman Campbell.
STATHS, who are unbeaten in the Manning Cup competition, have been one of the top teams all season. Their defensive record is impressive. They have conceded just seven goals while scoring 24.
The Phillip Williams-coached team will enter today’s final full of confidence, having defeated pre-season favourites Kingston College 2-1 in their semi-final encounter last Saturday. STATHS recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their first title win in 1987 with a reunion dinner last month.
The STATHS players, who have been playing together for the past three seasons, are determined to win the title today, having been knocked out at the quarter-final stage last season.
They will be led by their inspirational goalkeeper and captain, Jaedine White, who is regarded by many as the best shot stopper in schoolboy football this season.
In fact, White produced two brilliant saves before returning to score the winner in a penalty shoot-out in their quarter-final play-off game against St George’s College.
White is expected to receive support from David Smith and Barrington Bailey, who were the scorers for STATHS against KC in their semi-final encounter last week. Noel Walker, Andre Smith, and Giovanne Howell are the leading players for STATHS.