Sun | Sep 22, 2019

STGC looking to go one better

Published:Friday | August 23, 2019 | 12:18 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
St Georges College’s Cheva Denton (right) slides in on Kingston College’s Shaquille Smith, while Denton’s teammate Duvaughn Dunkley attempts to get in on the action during the teams’ ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup final at the National Stadium on Friday, November 30, 2018.
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St George’s College came within minutes of taking the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup to the blue side of North Street last year, and, according to assistant coach Marcel ‘Fuzzy’ Gayle, the Georgians hope to go one better in 2019. A bright preseason and 60 per cent retention of last year’s runner-up squad are the factors named by Gayle for a bright outlook for the coming season.

“If we go one better, then we are champions, and most definitely, we are looking forward for the upcoming season,” Gayle said at the launch of the upcoming schoolboy football season in Kingston on Wednesday.

Altogether, the mood at St George’s is bright. “The guys are optimistic, they are upbeat, and, I mean, they are confident this year.”

The Neville Bell-coached Georgians led 2-1 with time ticking away in last year’s Manning Cup final, but lost 3-2 to Kingston College. Asked how that disappointment has affected the returning members of the team, Gayle replied, “It’s a motivation and I can’t see it otherwise.”

It also has helped to map the team’s preparations for 2019.

“We know what we did wrong, and we know what we will be working on this year to correct all those mistakes,” he said.

“We might not get everything according to plan, but we’re going to go out there and make a good showing of ourselves and we make no excuses.”

The school is just as proud of the academic achievements of those who wear the famous sky blue on the field of play. Gayle said that nearly 100 boys have earned scholarships in the last 13 years. “I want to make this clear,” Gayle emphasized, “St George’s College, we’re here not just to play football, but to develop and harness the young minds of these student-athletes.”

“St George’s is a school”, he continued, “with academics first priority for these kids, using football as a vehicle to enhance their discipline.”

Proud coach

Gayle, who has served the school for more than a decade, added that a couple of players in this year’s squad, have eight Grade One passes in the just concluded CSEC examinations.

Speaking proudly, Gayle said, “We have more than 60 per cent of the squad who are in first year sixth, or returning sixth formers.”

St George’s will get the 2019 Manning Cup campaign under way on September 9 with a home game against Eltham High School.

ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup Group F:

Ardenne

Calabar

Campion

Eltham

Norman Manley

St George’s