Coach praises Jonathan Grant's fighting spirit
Former Excelsior High school football hero Oneil Thomas, now a coach at the Jonathan Grant High school remains buoyed by his team's "perfect fighting spirit".
Despite what he lamented are inadequate resources and financial support at the St Catherine school Jonathan Grant edged his alma mater - Excelsior - 1-0 in quarter-0final one at Constant Spring and beat another former champion, Charlie Smith, 2-0 at Prison Oval Thomas earlier this week.
Thomas himself lifted the Manning Cup in 1981 and the Walker Cup in 1980 at Excelsior, and believes that this year, the competition is wide open.
"If we come and play good football against St George's or Jamaica College we beat them, so I think this competition is open for anybody. Maybe I am not saying we, but maybe you will see a dark horse this year," he said.
Thomas was coached by
veteran Geoffrey Maxwell at Excelsior.
"I would like some highlight for my players who would feel motivated and important. I am not all about trying to win Manning Cup. I am trying to see how best we can set a legacy and build something in St Catherine," he said.
Thomas admitted that his school couldn't afford to fit the players with proper iron-pegged boots to play on the wet Constant Spring surface when they beat Excelsior last week.
"We are not going out there to look any players. We just stay inside the school and work with the talent with our fighting spirit. We just need a proper programme inside the school," he added.
He recalled his time at Excelsior fondly but maintains that he has a job to do with Jonathan Grant.
"The school needs a little help, and I just help them out," he shared.