Signal Hill and Shiva Boys are two wins away from 2017 Coca Cola National Intercol glory, after they were both relegated from the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division.
Signal Hill had a poor SSFL season, while Shiva Boys were deducted 17 points due to improperly registration two players – both teams ended the season with just nine points.
Today, in the national Intercol semi-final double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Shiva Boys do battle with Carapichaima East at 3.30pm, and Signal Hill will square off against reigning Intercol title-holders San Juan North at 5.30pm.
On Monday, Signal Hill prevailed in the lone quarter-final contest, courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline over St Mary’s at the Plymouth Recreation Ground.
Xavier King, former team manager and current vice-principal of Signal Hill, said on Tuesday, “We’re accustomed to qualifying (for the semis). Last year we qualified as well, over the years we’ve been qualifying. The vibes (in the camp) is generally good. Everybody feels upbeat. We think this team has the momentum to go straight into the final and win it. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
On September 30, in the Premier Division, San Juan North defeated Signal Hill 3-0, but King hopes that Signal Hill can avenge that loss and knockout the Intercol champs. “We played them before. We’re not fearful of them. I don’t want to boast but I think we are a better team than them. When we played them, the motivation wasn’t there. (But) I think we have a very good chance at winning,” he said.
San Juan North’s coach Jerry Moe, looking ahead to today’s game, said, “We’re motivated more by wanting to make history by being the first team to repeat as Intercol champions in this (Premiership) era. The mood in the camp is very good.”
He added, “One of the things I’ve learnt coming into this game is if your mind is not sharp, you can lose your level of consciousness – some people call it swell-headed.
“It’s our job as a staff not to make the players get carried away, for us to keep them level-headed and grounded, and to understand that it’s what we do (today) is what’s important.”
Shiva Boys’ manager Sheldon Maharaj is eager to see his team advance to Monday’s Intercol final but believes Carapichaima will be no pushovers.
“We have to respect Carapichaima. They are a team in the Premiership, they are a very good team. We plan to win the National Intercol title, so we’re coming out to win (today’s) game for sure. We’re just going to do what we need to do.”
Ashbert Charles, manager of the Carapichaima squad, hopes that his team can create history as the first Central-based unit to win a National Intercol title, in the modern era.
“We are up for the challenge,” Charles said yesterday. “We want to do something special here. A national title for the Central Zone would be very important, and we think we could bring it home.”