…Wily old fox Walters face rookie Wedderburn

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer

Saturday, December 01, 2012


MONTEGO BAY, St James — The coaches of both schools in today’s 58th ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup schoolboys’ football final between St Elizabeth Technical High (STETHS) and Glenmuir High agree that the battle will be more mental than physical, as both seek the right to be champions this season when they clash at the Montego Bay Sports Complex starting at 4:00 pm.

STETHS, who are in back-to-back finals, are seeking to add to titles they won in 1974, 1999 and 2009, while Glenmuir High last won in 2006 after winning their first title two years earlier.

Additionally, STETHS will be seeking their first rural area schoolboys Under-19 double after winning a third straight Ben Francis Knockout title earlier in the season.

Veteran coach Wendell Downswell (centre) takes over the STETHS team during a break in the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup semi-final at the Montego Bay Sports Complex while coach Omar Wedderburn (left) looks on.The teams qualified for today’s decider after contrasting wins in last weekend’s semi-finals — STETHS beating Frome Technical 1-0 in extra time at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, while Glenmuir blitzed Mannings School for three goals in the first half to run out 3-0 winners at the STETHS Sports Complex in Santa Cruz.

Yesterday, both coaches were full of confidence in their chances, but said it was the team that came to play on the day that will win.

Patrick ‘Jackie’ Walters, the grizzly veteran of nearly 20 schoolboys’ finals, including five in the Manning Cup and eight in the daCosta Cup spread between Clarendon College and Glenmuir High, along with numerous Walker Cup and Ben Francis KO final appearances, will pit his skills against first-time finalists Omar Wedderburn, who was assistant to Andrew Edwards for a number of years before taking over this season.

While it is his first final as a head coach, Wedderburn has had another veteran on his bench in the form of Wendell Downswell, who played on the 1974 team, coached the 1999 winners, and was a part of the coaching staff in 2009. He, however, left the island on Thursday on football business for the local governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation.

Walters told the Jamaica Observer: “Psychologically the players understand the gravity of the situation and what is required of them,” while Wedderburn said mental preparation began long before today. “We have to play the game in our minds before we get to it, we have to have the preparations in place early.”

He added: “Nothing will change for this game for us, we are preparing for it just like we have in any other games, the objective is the same, we want to win and while this is a title-grabbing game we will remain focused and won’t do anything out of the ordinary.”

The teams will come into today’s final with similar overall statistics, — STETHS having scored 53 goals while conceding nine and Glenmuir scoring 50 and conceding seven.

However, it is their form since the start of the Inter-zone round that shows a big difference. STETHS have managed to score just 15 goals, while the Glenmuir offensive machine has lifted their game a notch or two and has scored 20 goals, conceding just one, and are unbeaten. STETHS lost to Mannings in their final quarter-final game.

Yesterday, Walters conceded that he “hoped” his attacking force, led by the competition’s top marksmen Noel Johnson and Xhane Reid, who have combined for 11 goals since the start of the Inter-Zone round, along with Andre Scot and Newton Henry, who have scored four each, will win the game for them early.

(L-R )WEDDERBURN… first-time finalist. WALTERS… the grizzly veteran of nearly 20 schoolboys finals  “We hope our attacking strength will win it for us,” Walters told the Observer from their base in Montego Bay. “Our programme was designed to get us this far,” he said, while describing STETHS as “a technically good team”.

Glenmuir will be without captain and centre-half Kamal Henry, who will watch the game from the stands due to the accumulation of yellow cards, but Walters said they have ample backup, as Ricardo Reid, who had missed a part of the season with an injury, will be back to fill the void.

The Glenmuir team has been in Montego Bay since Thursday as Walters explained that most of the players had never played at the venue. He said rather than travel the night before when the players could become nervy, they decided to arrive earlier.

The STETHS players are no strangers to the venue having played there just a week ago and winning their last two games there since losing to Rusea’s High in last season’s final.

Asked about their plans for the Glenmuir offence, Wedderburn told the Observer yesterday that they would “take a cautious approach at the start”, but said he was confident their game plan would be able to nullify the opposition’s attack.

While admitting he had not seen Glenmuir play. but had heard reports, he preferred not to make decisions based on second-hand information.

Seven players have scored for STETHS since the start of the Inter-zone round with Donjay Smith, Khesario Hall and Rushane Scarlett all scoring three goals each. Hall was on fire in the first round with 15 goals, but cooled somewhat as the season progressed.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/This-is-it–Glenmuir–STETHS-hunt-daCosta-Cup-title_13125167#ixzz2DqNLbDmJ