Excelsior's Daniel Riley anticipates good showing

Observer staff reporter

Friday, September 07, 2018

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The Excelsior High School team is set to begin the 2018 Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Digicel Manning Cup season tomorrow and it's doing so with optimism.

It has been a while since Excelsior won the prestigious title, with the last of their seven liens coming back in 2004. The others were in 1953, 1969, 1980, 1989, 1993 and 2003, complemented by seven Walker Cup titles — the last coming back in 2008. They also lay claim to two Olivier Shield triumphs.

Though holding no great expectation of winning the tournament, Head Coach Daniel Riley believes they should again give a good account of themselves.

“We are under no pressure whatsoever. We have a young team and it's a building process, and it is going to take some time and work.

“Preparations have gone well. We got a lot of support from past students and well-wishers during the pre season, and we are prepared to some point where we will give a good account of ourselves this season despite the fact that we are building for the future,” Riley told the Jamaica Observer.

Last year Excelsior registered seven wins, two draws and one loss, while scoring 33 goals with seven against, to finish behind Kingston College in first-round action.

Despite scoring a 1-0 second-leg win over Calabar, they were sent packing after earlier going down 0-2 in the first leg.

Excelsior should be able to come up with a more tidy record in the first round this year as they are the top-rated team in Group E, which includes Haile Selassie, Oberlin, Penwood, St Catherine and St Mary's College.

The Mountain View Avenue-based school should come up with a few more wins this season, with its squad boasting a mixture of youth and experience. But Riley pointed out that as long as the team gives of its best, he would be pleased with the end result.

“Well, I can't speak much about last year's make-up of the team, but this year the team is basically a mixture of talent and youth, along with a few players having their final year.

“So my rating is that we are prepared as a team and we will be playing to our school motto 'Age Animo' (which translates to) 'Do it with thy might', and whereever we finish, we will be proud of our efforts,” Riley noted.

Riley's goal for the team is to assist the players in improving their IQ both on and off the field, which he hopes will ultimately result in paving a solid path for their future.

Excelsior opens the season on Monday against Oberlin at their Mountain View Avenue base at 3:30 pm.

“Well, our goal is to have the players get an education [by] using football as an avenue to assist them in doing so. Also, we want to build men for the future to provide a change in whichever community they are coming from to play at Excelsior High School,” he ended.

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