Wolmer’s, George’s clash again
Defending champions St George’s College ( STGC) and preseason favourites Wolmer’s will tomorrow square off in the feature semi- final of the ISSA/ LIME Manning Cup at the National Stadium, with both teams backing themselves to come out on top.
The match, which is slated to get under way at 4 p. m. will be preceded by the playing of the first semi- final between perennial title challengers Jamaica College ( JC) and Excelsior at 2 p. m.
“We are coming off a defeat in the week and so we have to get it right against Wolmer’s on Saturday,” said Marcel Gayle, assistant coach of St George’s.
“It is going to be a tough game because this is the third year that we are playing against them in the Manning Cup semi- final. We have managed to come out on top in the previous two occasions and so we are hoping to do the same in this game,” Gayle added.
“We only have the Manning Cup to play for, and so we want to go out there and play some good football and win the game.”
St George’s will enter the match with intentions of not only defending their title, but also remaining on course for the national Olivier Shield.
The Neville ‘ Bertis’ Bell- coached unit made the final four after topping Group K, which included victories against Camperdown, Spanish Town and Calabar.
St George’s will look to a cadre of former national Under- 17 and current national Under20 representatives to lead them into this year’s final.
These include midfielder and captain Ryan Miller, who has netted 15 goals this season, Oshane Boothe, Cardel Benbow and Martin Davis.
Wolmer’s, in the meanwhile, topped Group J after getting the better of Bridgeport, Norman Manley and Holy Trinity. They will enter the game eyeing the coveted treble, having already secured a spot in the Walker Cup final.
“We are going to take a very cautious and respectful approach to this semi- final,” said Wolmer’s coach, Ludlow Bernard.
“We will be doing our research and analysis of their team to ensure that we come with a strategy for the game,” he added.
Former national Under- 17 player Jaheel Hyde, who has netted 15 goals this season, will lead Wolmer’s hunt for goals, along with fellow striker Jordan James, who has scored 10 goals. They are expected to receive support from Demar Rose, Khori Bennett and Kimo Wallace.
The first match, is expected to be a keenly contested game as both teams will be at full strength for the match.
However, Excelsior’s coach Leebert Halliman, whose team have already secured their place in Walker Cup final, says the hectic schedule has taken a toll on the team and will put them at a disadvantage entering tomorrow’s game.
“We have to be playing three 1 o’ clock games three or four days apart, while the rest of the teams have been resting for seven to eight days and so we are at a disadvantage,” said Halliman.
On the other hand, JC’s manager Ian Forbes is expressing confidence ahead of tomorrow’s semi- final.
“We see it as a very important game because it is knockout game, whoever loses it out,” Forbes.
“We are quite confident because we have been playing well in this phase of the competition and I expect to continue in this vain.”
Wolmer’s Boys’ Tazeo Gilpin ( right) shielding the ball from St George’s College’s Cardel Benbow during last year’s Manning Cup semi- final at the National Stadium. The teams will meet in a rematch tomorrow.