High aspirations for Northern Technical
For the last seven years, Northern Technical High School, situated at 74 Slipe Road, has been chomping at the bits in an attempt establish themselves as a competitive team in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup competition.
The school believes playing in the competition will uplift its image and make it more appealing. But the Cross Roads based school is still coming to grips with the harsh difficulty of competition.
Team manager Junior Weise says they are not deterred, as they are looking to make their mark and become a team to be reckoned with within the next two years.
The school has a population of about 800 students, and an estimated Manning Cup budget of $500,000. But starting their own Under-14 and Under-16 programmes and opening their doors to new recruits should enable them to be more competitive in a few years, Weise believes.
"People don't know that at 74 Slipe Road, is Northern Technical High School, and our ambition is to take the team as far as possible (in the Manning Cup)," he said. "It's a work in progress, a two-year plan. So we are just trying to get it right and this season is a stepping stone."
The school first competed in the tournament as St Andrew College six years ago, and this is the first season under the name Northern Technical.
Weise, who has been with the programme since its inception, said that they have seen the benefits of competing in the Manning Cup and they want to give their students the chance to reap some of it.
"The first season opened the players' eyes to wider opportunities and those opportunities are out there for them," he said. "This is a wake-up call for our players to get their minds open that we have this platform to showcase their talent."
He added that they have seen the impact of playing the Manning Cup at the school and he hopes that continues to improve.
"We want to establish ourselves. Our school population has grown and because of our name being called in the Manning Cup, youngsters are coming in. We are also open to students coming in if they are interested in making the programme better. So greater things are coming next year and we hope to go as far as possible."
Coach Mark Morrison, who is in his first season, says inexperience is their biggest problem, but with the Under-14 and Under-16 teams established, and the experience they have gained this season, he believes that with a few new recruits, then they can make their mark on the competition soon.
"The team is very inexperienced," Morrison said. "Our starting 11 has eight colts players. Also, it's a new team and they are trying football to uplift the school.
" We will have to set a programme to develop the school, but we will have to look outside the school, as well."
Northern Tech lost their first two Group C matches, conceded 14 goals, and scored none. Their third match against Penwood on Tuesday was called off after 70 minutes due to a thunderstorm. Penwood led 3-0.