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  Football

Schoolboy football - The cream of the crop

 
The annual schoolboy battles for the daCosta Cup and the Manning Cup are the biggest crowd-pullers in local sport. Each year the island's leading Under-20 players battle for the two most coveted local trophies.

The 2006 ISSA/Pepsi/JN season has been hailed as one of the best in the past decade in terms of quality of play and competitiveness. Two teams which were not among the favourites at the start emerged champions, with Glenmuir High taking the rural-based daCosta Cup and Bridgeport High lifting the Corporate Area Manning Cup. The two could share the all-island title as the Olivier Shield first leg ended 1-1 on Wednesday. Local football has been suspended because of the malaria outbreak and it is now uncertain whether the second leg will be played.

There were several outstanding players from both competitions, some of whom went on to wear national colours in the regional Under-20 competition. Today we name our best elevens from both competitions.

# Best Manning Cup XI

Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter

Goalkeepers

There were quite a couple of custodians who had an excellent season between the sticks, among them Calabar's Curtis Chickroy and Bridgeport's Carlloyd Walter's. My top selections are, however, Waterford's Peter Harrison and Eltham's Kelso Cousins. The starting nod goes to Cousins, a player who has demonstrated great reflexes and good command of his area.

Defenders

Cool-headed Calabar captain Robert Palmer leads the way in this category, but the versatile Wolmer's captain Nicholas Beckett, who can play either as central defender or central midfielder, runs a close second. Jamaica College's Andrew Mendez has also been selected as he had a commanding presence for his team.

Midfielders

This was by far the most difficult category to select just five players from. Players like Norman Manlet's Bailey and Bridgeport's Theo Brown were rock solid and marshalled the middle of the pitch. Others like St. George's Shammar Shelton, Excelsior's Akeem Nelson and young Jamoy Sibbles from Eltham terrorised defenders with the ball at their feet. My top five selections, however, begin with midfield maestro Tremaine Stewart of Eltham. The player not only eludes defenders with the greatest of ease, but has the ability to string deadly accurate passes from anywhere on the pitch with either foot. Stewart, a unique talent, also has a hammer of a right foot which makes him a danger from any set piece. Jamaica College's Keammar Daley is up next. When carrying the ball towards opponents he has proved to be virtually unstoppable all season long.

There is nobody better at getting out of tight spaces and his vision and ability to take accurate free kicks had defenders and keepers everywhere on constant alert. Shane Bygrave, Calabar's iron man in the middle, has not only stopped dangerous opponents dead in their tracks all season long, but has proven to be a colossal force pushing the ball through the midfield and into the opponents' final third. Out wide, the pace, guile and pinpoint crossing ability of Calabar's Lennox Creary cement his spot in the starting eleven. While closing out the selection is Bridgeport's Kenardo Forbes who has shown sound technical ability and awesome vision on the pitch with the feet to match.

Forwards

This area has probably been the weakest this season and no forward truly dominated the league. Calabar's Cleyon Brown, a player with impressive physique and an eye for goal and a fierce right foot, would doubtlessly have made a bigger impact if he was not injured for most of the season. However, Theophelus Samuels of Bridgeport who netted once in the semi-finals, twice in the finals and once in the first leg of the Olivier Shield has done enough to justify his selection up front. Then there is Excelsior's danger man Alanzo Adlam, who even though coming off the bench for most of the season, has certainly looked like one of the best players in the competition.

# Manning Cup XI

Goalkeeper

Kelso Cousins - Eltham

Defenders Robert Palmer - Calabar

Nicholas Beckett - Wolmer's

Andrew Mendez - Jamaica College

Midfielders

Tremaine Stewart - Eltham

Keammar Daley - Jamaica College

Shane Bygrave - Calabar

Kenardo Forbes - Bridgeport

Lennox Creary - Calabar

Forwards

Alanzo Adlam - Excelsior

Theophelus Samuels - Bridgeport

# My best daCosta Cup XI Adrian Frater, News Editor

In the daCosta Cup, which featured 65 teams, the talent was widespread making the selecting of a best of daCosta Cup XI a most challenging exercise. Below I will unveil my best XI and the justification for my selections.

Goalkeeper

It was a season of good goalkeeping, with players such as William Knibb's Renardo Brown, Clarendon College's André Black, Glenmuir's Kristopher Lewis and Frome Technical's Shamar Mullings standing out.

However, for conceding just 13 goals and performing brilliantly in the penalty shoot-out finals of the Ben Francis and daCosta Cup, my top goalkeeper is Shamar Mullings

Defenders

While there were not many outstanding defenders, several players stood out. However, my four top defenders are: Frome Technical's Linval Wilson Jr., dubbed 'Mr. Reliable' for his surefooted tackling;

Wilson's teammate Paul Graham, who defends and attacks with flair and composure on the left side; Petersfield's Ramone Vassell, a sharp no-nonsense defender; and St. James High School's Gavin Wright, a cool and calm reader of the game.

Midfielders

With gifted midfielders such as Clarendon College's Akeem Annakie, Frome Technical's Delano Rankine and Obrian Woodbine, Glenmuir's Trevol Smith, Denbigh's Akeen Hunter, Petersfield's Troy Reid and Herbert Morrison's Ahkeel Lee to select from, settling on just four was not easy.

However, based on their special skills, my four top midfielders are: Annakie, a gifted left-sided player, Rankine, a crafty dribbler; Smith, blinding speed and brilliant passing skills; and Woodbine, deft touches, precise passing, and deadly free kicks.

Forwards

In attack, strong cases could be made for the likes of Titchfield's Dever Orgill, Clarendon College's Nefta Stewart, Cornwall College's Edward Campbell and Ocho Rios' Zico Lewis. However, on the strength of their heavy scoring and their ability to outsmart defenders, my two strikers are James Thomas, who got 19 goals for Glenmuir; and Frome Technical's Sedane McCreath, who got 13 goals.

# daCosta Cup XI

Goalkeeper

Shamar Mullings - Frome

Defenders

Linval Wilson Jr. - Frome

Gavin Wright - St. James

Ramone Vassell - Petersfield

Paul Graham - Frome

Midfielders

Akeem Annakie - Clarendon

Delano Rankine - Frome

Obrian Woodbine - Frome

Trevol Graham - Glenmuir

Forwards

James Thomas - Glenmuir

Sedane McCreath - Frome

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