East Zone Intercol champions St Augustine Secondary will have to win for the second time in three days come Wednesday afternoon if they want to have a shy at Coca Cola National Intercol glory.
The “Green Machine” squeezed themselves into the semis after defeating Tobago Zone champions, Speyside High, by a 2-1 margin in Mt Pleasant today. But they now have just a single day recuperate before clashing with South Intercol winners and two-time Premier Division champs Naparima College at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium on Wednesday.
St Augustine coach Michael Grayson is far from pleased with the situation.
“We only have one day rest and it is not fair at all,” Grayson told Wired868. “It’s definitely a lack of foresight from the league and we spoke to them about it. The bottom line is these fixtures were made a long time ago and when they were drawn up (the SSFL) must know that if a team wins Monday then has to play Wednesday, it is asking too much.”
Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) general secretary Azaad Khan countered that, because the fixtures were compiled several months ago, it made it all the more difficult to alter it.
“These fixtures did not come up today,” Khan said. “We sent it to everybody (participating schools and coaches) before the start of the season and the onus was on them to look at the fixtures and raise any issues. No issues were raised.”
Khan denied receiving any formal complaint from St Augustine about Wednesday’s National Intercol semifinal.
“There has been no formal complaint put forward to the league and that communication has to come through the school principal,” Khan added. “Unless the principal sends something, there is nothing we can do. If a formal request comes from St Augustine, then I’ll be able to tell them yes or no depending on what the two other persons on the fixtures committee say.”
If St Augustine are to lift the prestigious knockout trophy though, then they would have definitely done it the hard way.
The East zone champs avoided a potential banana skin in Tobago as they overcame a Speyside team which was trying to emulate the fairytale title run by last year’s Intercol winner Mucurapo East Secondary, which had been relegated prior to their Intercol triumph.
But Tyriq Alexander and Isaiah Lee scored for the Green Machine on either side of halftime to dash Speyside’s dreams.
“The game wasn’t easy at all and the officiating didn’t do us any favours either,” said Grayson. “Speyside played as though they wanted to prove something and (their play) did not reflect a relegated team at all…
“But the boys stuck to the game plan and played well, especially when Speyside equalised with about 15 to 20 minutes to go.”
Grayson’s charges must now prepare for a double-chasing Naparima team, which would have been afforded four days rest by the time the two teams meet on Wednesday. Coincidentally, it was Naparima that handed St Augustine their last defeat in this 2015 SSFL season.
But the St Augustine coach is not willing to throw in the towel just yet.
“We have no choice but to go out there and fight them with what we’ve got,” said Grayson. “We will definitely have something to say about Naps getting that double.”
The first semi-final clash will see Central Intercol champs Carapichaima East Secondary battle with North Intercol champs St Anthony’s College at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 4:15 pm tomorrow.
“Caps” got the better of Presentation College (Chaguanas) with a 3-0 result in their zonal final on Saturday while St Anthony’s defeated St Mary’s College 3-1 in theirs final last Thursday.
Can Carapichaima and St Augustine defy the odds?
Maybe if Kathon St Hillaire or Isaiah Hudson allow it.
(Road to the Coca Cola National Intercol final)
East Zone Intercol Final
(Wednesday 18th November)
St Augustine 2 (Kenton James 24, Jesse Joseph 76), Five Rivers Secondary 0, Larry Gomes Stadium;
North Zone Intercol final
(Thursday 19th November)
St Mary’s College 1 (Ethan Shim 83), St Anthony’s College 3 (Brent Joel 50, Nathan Harte 58 own goal, Kathon St Hillaire 89), Hasely Crawford;
South Zone Intercol Final
(Friday November 20)
Naparima College 3 (Anderson Toussaint 48, Isaiah Hudson 55, Justin Sadoo 63), Presentation College (San F’do) 2 (Kareem Riley 25, Terrell Williams 90+3), Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
Central Zone Intercol Final
(Saturday November 21)
Presentation College (Chaguanas) 0, Carapichaima East Secondary 3, Ato Boldon Stadium;
National Intercol quarterfinal
(Monday November 23)
Speyside 1, St Augustine 2 (Tyriq Alexander, Isaiah Lee), Mt Pleasant Ground;
National Intercol semifinal
(Tuesday November 24)
St Anthony’s College v Carapichaima East Secondary, Hasely Crawford Sadium, 4:15 pm;
National Intercol semifinal
(Wednesday November 25)
Naparima College v St Augustine, 3.30 pm, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium;
National Intercol final
(Monday November 30)