Excelsior sports Master backs new Manning Cup coach
Excelsior High School's sports master, Xavier Gilbert, has confirmed that Daniel Riley, the brother of the school's track and field coach, David Riley, and former assistant to Leebert Halliman, will lead the school into the upcoming Manning Cup season.
Riley had been one of Halliman's trusted assistant for a number of years at the Mountain View Avenue-based school, but was overlooked for the more renown Shavar Thomas last season.
However, after spending much of the summer in search of a Manning Cup coach, the school decided to give the former assistant his chance to lead the team this season. Gilbert, who has had first-hand experience working with him, believes he is more than capable of taking the team to the top, even though they have a young squad this year.
"It's a new team, it's a young team and they are making that transformation into a team. So we know they can win, but we don't expect them to win this season. But we expect them to have the better of some opponents and one of the things we want to ensure is that we top the zone and get into the second round," he said.
"We will see how far they can go and how strong the team is once we get to the second round. Once we get to the second round the possibility of being champions exists," he added.
Gilbert said Jahmiah Pettigrew is a very compatible assistant for Riley, and is confident that together they can make their mark in the competition.
"He (Pettigrew) has coached Mountain View FC in the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association Major League, and he is a good player. They provide a good balance and there is a good chemistry between them," he said.
The coaches were appointed in June and started working that same month. Their win in the Ali Cup, a preseason tournament hosted and played at the school, has been a big boost ahead of the season.
"Winning the Ali Cup was a morale boost. Although it was early days and it's not yet the start of the season, but the progress they have shown has been good so far," Gilbert said.