JC rest hopes on young Thomas
Defending Manning Cup champions Jamaica College (JC) have not been as convincing this season as past squads that have been a part of their run of four successive titles. However, in 16-year-old sensation, Shaniel Thomas, they have a new talisman capable of taking them to a fifth straight title.
Thomas, the 2016 and 2015 KSAFA U-15 top scorer, who turned 16 just a couple weeks ago, has produced goals from preseason and carried his form into the Manning Cup.
However, his round-of-16 performances against Charlie Smith High proved he has come of age and showed his worth, scoring the first goal which helped JC fight from two nil down to draw 2-2 in the first-leg. Then, in the return leg, he grabbed a quick first-half brace to put the contest to bed in the first half.
Though expectations of Thomas continue to grow, he feels no pressure because of the support and motivation he gets from his senior teammates. "I feel wonderful. I had a great game (against Charlie Smith)," Thomas said. "Coach (Miguel Coley) gave me a list of instructions, and I just went out and did as best as I could. I don't feel a lot of pressure because players like (Tyreke) McGhee and Norman Campbell always motivated me to do my best, so it has been easy for me," he said.
"I am still learning, but I am pleased with my performance. I hope it gets even better as we go further in the competition," he added after Wednesday's game.
With his confidence growing, Thomas intends to continue working hard to help his team win as many trophies this season.
"My expectation is to win all four trophies," he explained. "It is just my first year and I am having an excellent season. Each match, I just want to do as best as I can. I have seven goals (but) I have targeted 20 and I am working hard to reach it. By God's will, I can help my team to retain the title. I just plan to continue working hard in training and I guess everything will just come," he said.
Coley said that Thomas is an exceptional talent but has more to learn. "He is learning," Coley shared. "He has lots of work to do. But today (Wednesday) we gave him a job and he did that job. And we have leadership that gives him support, but he did fantastic," he added.