THE last time San Juan North Secondary School lifted the coveted Coca Cola National Intercol title was back in 2016, against none other than the Presentation College Lions.
Since then, San Juan North have been the most consistent team in this competition, having again reached the final in 2017 (losing to Shiva Boys) and 2018 (losing to Naparima College). Fast forward to the climax of the 2019 season and San Juan North are once again wading in familiar waters. Another Coca Cola National Intercol final, this time against a team they beat at this very stage three years ago.
This year, the East Zone champions are hoping for a repeat performance of the 2016 title match, where they emerged 1-0 victors over “Pres” in a tightly contested encounter. According to manager Stephen Clarke, the squad does not intend to let TT’s premier school’s football prize slip away for a third consecutive time.
“The feeling in the camp is very optimistic,” said Clarke. “This is our fourth year in the final and we have a lot of players who have been here before. We are confident and there are only positive feelings going forward. The entire squad is fit and ready to go and we’re going to play as we did all season.”
San Juan skipper, Ronald Boyce, was a part of the 2016 title winning team.
He then captained his squad to two runner-up finishes in the following years but is hoping to depart his alma mater on a high, with a victory against Presentation College San Fernando, on Wednesday, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 4.30pm.
Also representing the San Juan senior team over the past four years were Adrian Duncan and vice-captain Kereem John, who will both join Boyce for their final shot at school football’s premier silverware.
“There are a lot of guys who will be leaving after this season and would like to go out on a high.
“This would be special for Boyce to go out with a victory as he has served this school proudly during his stay. With coach Jerry Moe at the helm, we have shown a winner’s mentality and aim to execute,” added the team manager.
However, Clarke admitted they have made little change to their tactical approach implemented throughout the season.
Although Presentation College produced a 2-1 victory over San Juan in the Secondary Schools Football League earlier this season, Clarke believes his team has what it takes to replicate and even better, their 2016 showing. “They (Presentation) are a good challenge. It’s no secret we’re coming with a 4-4-2 formation. And even though we lost to Presentation playing that same system earlier in the season, we have adjusted and rectified some of the technical issues and are an improved team now. Even though we managed to win the zone, coming on the national scene, anything can happen,” he concluded.