Williams unfazed by selection criticism
St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) head coach, Phillip Williams, has been getting criticism for his decision to start his strongest team in their final Group H ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup quarter-final game at Stadium East yesterday, when the Spanish Town Road school was already assured of their semi-final spot and group honours.
The criticism being laid at Williams is that with qualification and group honours assured, it was a great opportunity to rest some keys players. However, Williams took the decision to play his best team, including top striker Warner Brown and midfielder Marc Chambers, who both came out in the second-half nursing knocks, while, Sekani Campbell, who picked up a knock in the previous match against Jamaica College was brought in midway the second half of the game.
But Williams says the integrity of the competition was essential, and being one of the most popular teams in the competition, with one of the better strikers, he felt compelled to give the public what they came to see. He said it was a decision he does not regret.
"That was a thought that crossed my mind (rotating the squad) but we wanted to maintain the integrity of the competition and put our best foot forward," he said.
Striker on show
"Warner [Brown] is also one of the best strikers we have in the competition right now - the best in the league, if you ask me, and we want him to be on show as much as possible. So it's a chance we took but it was worth it."
STATHS have had no victory over Jamaica College (JC) over the many times they have met in the last three seasons, including the 2017 Manning Cup final.
But Williams says their win over JC on Tuesday was an indication of how far their Manning Cup programme has grown.
"Beating JC is a good feeling," he said. "They are one of the quality teams in Jamaica where football is concerned and they are one of the teams you really want to match our programme against to see the progress. So to put one over them is a very good feeling."
Williams said that the win was also an added boost to their confidence going into the semi-finals of the competition.
"Our confidence comes because of good training ethics," he said. "We have been training well all summer and we have been training well all competition, so we have our reason to be confident. We have a lot of quality and a lot of depth, so we came to play and win and see if we could go to maximum nine points. We are very proud and we are looking forward to the semi-finals."