Home - The Star
December 14, 2013
Star Sport


 

Bring back All-Manning, All-daCosta


Ricardo Makyn - Stephen Miller (centre), sponsorship executive of LIME, and Jermaine Brown (right) marketing executive of Bigga, hand over the Olivier Shield to members of the Jamaica College football team at the Stadium East field. Looking on at left is ISSA President Dr Walton Small.

As I stated in last week's column, which was published under the caption, 'High praise for the STETHS model', I am of the view that the just-concluded 2013 LIME/ISSA schoolboy football season was easily one of the best we have had in recent years.

However, as much as ISSA deserves credit for the planning and execution of the tournament, which saw Jamaica College (JC) emerging as the urban champions and St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) taking home the rural title, I still feel as though the season was incomplete.

The feeling stems from the fact that the Olivier Shield showdown between JC and STETHS, which closed the season, was somewhat anticlimactic as the JC aggregation all but made it a no-contest when they won the first-leg game 3-0 at STETHS and then took the return game in Kingston 2-0.

Based on what unfolded during the season, I don't believe that JC are two or three goals better than STETHS and as a consequence, I am among those persons who believe that JC benefited from the long rest (11 days) they got between the Manning Cup final and the Olivier Shield. STETHS suffered badly from basically walking out of the daCosta Cup final into the Olivier Shield play-off without a break.

level playing field

Going forward, I believe ISSA needs to create a level playing field in terms of affording both the rural and urban champions at least a week of full rest before the Olivier Shield play-off. As a former player, I think I am qualified to state that a body suffering from fatigue functions differently from one that is well rested.

In addition to the fatigue, which usually sets in after several games in rapid succession, a break between the daCosta Cup and the Olivier Shield would give minor niggles a player might be carrying a chance to heal.

I am not saying that had STETHS been given a chance to rest properly they would have beaten JC. However, I believe that had they been well rested, they would have shown much more zest in the first game, which very much decided the two-way tie.

Regarding my feeling about the season being incomplete, I believe ISSA should look at returning to the days when the season used to end with a clash between an All-daCosta Cup aggregation and an All-Manning outfit. In addition to showcasing the best players from both competitions, it was also a way of rewarding those players who did well during the season.

golden opportunity

The cost associated with pulling players from all over rural Jamaica for the All-daCosta Cup team might be considered a deterrent by ISSA, but I believe it represents a golden opportunity to look into the future.

If we are ever to become serious about the promotion of home-grown players for the various national football programmes, I believe the best place to start fine-tuning is at the schoolboy level. If we could have a new crop of quality players emerging each year, we would be well on the way to looking here and not to England when we select our national team.

The All-daCosta versus All-Manning match is the most effective way to showcase our best youngsters, and I believe that ISSA should give serious thought to bringing back this game in the near future. I am sure that, with little effort, a good sponsor could be found for it.

Feel free to send your feedback to adrianfrater@hotmail.com

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