Cumberland High School are looking to build on the success they achieved last year in the Corporate Area schoolboy football competition, Manning Cup.
Coach Kemar Brown and principal Darien Henry are confident that Cumberland, which is based in Portmore, St Catherine, will create a stir in the competition similar to what they did last year when the team advanced to the second round for the first time.
Brown said: “The expectations for Cumberland are very high, based on the season that we had last year. We are trying to bring over the momentum into this season and see if it can actually make us qualify for the second round.”
Brown is confident that the team can earn a place in the quarter-finals based on the work that has been put in over the holidays.
Principal Henry added: “My expectations are very high. I knew that Cumberland’s Manning Cup team would have surprised the entire football fraternity and the country in general. This year we have another surprise in the bag as we are going to be a team to be reckoned with. We have been working throughout the summer and we expect good performances from them.
“We are expecting to at least reach the quarter-finals because we definitely have ourselves to come out of the zone and we know what is required of us to come out. We are looking forward to the quarterfinals and once we reach that stage we are looking forward to reaching further than there.”
The confidence of both the coach and principal is boosted by Cumberland getting positives results from the more than 20 practice matches they have played. Another boost for Cumberland is the retention of 15 players from last year’s history-making squad.
Brown, however, is wary of the other teams in Group A of the competition, which is also made up of Holy Trinity, St Jago, Haile Selassie, Bridgeport and Clan Carthy. Brown said the teams in the group are going to be tough. He believes that it will be the most competitive of the seven groups. Brown, however, believes that Holy Trinity and St Jago will be his main rivals from the group.
He is expecting Nicholas Shorter, Christopher Morgan and Javante Grant to bear the brunt of the workload for Cumberland. Brown said they have worked to build depth in the squad. He believes the lack of depth factored into their failure to sparkle after advancing to the second round last year, with injuries affecting them. “We are dedicated and committed to putting in this work to actually qualify as front runners [from the group] because our aim definitely also, is to play the Digicel Cup,” Brown said.