Excelsior are being touted as being among the favourites to lift the Corporate Area schoolboy Manning Cup title this year with wily coach Leebert Hailliman returning as technical director while being assisted by veteran conditioners Everald Campbell and Jahmiah Pettigrew.
According to Campbell, the players are young but he is expecting them to rise to the challenge to get Excelsior to the next phase of the tournament and possibly fight for the title.
Campbell said that Excelsior lost most of the players that carried Excelsior to the second round last year, but the talent within the current squad is good, so the expectation is high for the six-time champions.
Campbell said that preparation for this year’s competition started slowly, but the work that has been put in during the summer holidays has ensured that the players are ready to go when the competition starts on Saturday.
Excelsior has played a number of practice matches over the summer holidays but have also gotten success, as they lifted the pre-season Ali Cup after beating Holy Trinity in the final. Organised by Excelsior fraternity, the Ali Cup is named after a former player Allan ‘Ali” Cole Jnr.
Drawn in Group G of the competition, Excelsior will have to contend with defending champions Kingston College (KC), Cedar Grove Academy, Dunoon Park Technical High School, Kingston Technical and Pembroke Hall High School.
Campbell is expecting KC to be their main challenger for a top spot in the group, while he is looking to St George’s College to join Excelsior among the top contenders for the title.