Fatima, ’Gustine renew rivalry for InterCol title
It is anyone’s guess who will emerge Coca Cola InterCol champions when the “Green Machine” of St Augustine Secondary roll up to Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo to face Fatima College for the 2013 title.
This season marks the tenth year “Green Machine” coach Michael Grayson has been at the helm of the dual East Zone champions, one of the most successful teams in the last decade of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL). Yet in that time, the InterCol trophy has continually eluded them.
Fatima College have endured a drought since their 2005 InterCol title, and have put their hands up as serious contenders this time around.
There is little similarity in the teams’s respective paths to today’s decider.
St Augustine have not been beaten in regulation time so far, and have proved difficult to score on. Their two East titles were built on a strong attack and sturdy defence, and they have lost just once, in a penalty shootout against St Mary’s College in their “Big Five” semi-final.
Fatima, meanwhile, had a League season beset with injury woes, according to coach Richard Hood, which saw them finish fourth in the North. Since then, they have hardly put a foot wrong, and their 4-0 dismantling of Speyside Secondary in the semis last week was impressive. They will have to improve on that to snare their fourth InterCol title.
The teams also have history. Nine times St Augustine have tasted schools football glory, but their last five have come in the League. Fatima are seeking their sixth lien on a national trophy (fourth InterCol). And history is also on their side: three times the teams have met in an InterCol final, with St Augustine prevailing 1-0 in 1981, and Fatima getting the upper hand in 1979, and most recently in 2005, both times by a 2-1 margin.
Coach Hood told the Express yesterday that his team is “feeling pretty good”. He chalks up their InterCol run to self-belief.
He singled out national youth players Akeem Garcia, Aikim Andrews and Shannon Gomez as St Augustine’s standouts, and voiced Fatima’s respect for their opponents. Still, that is as much as the East giants will get from their North rivals.
“We have seen some (weaknesses) and we hope we can exploit them. I think their defence has not been tested (yet). Based on the couple of games I watched, they were not tested. We definitely will test their defence,” said Hood.
He added: “I think going into the game, anybody who has seen both teams will say Fatima would be the stronger team in terms of their performances, and style of play. I don’t see us as underdogs at all.”
ST AUGUSTINE SECONDARY
Manager Andre Moses knows all too well Fatima’s record against his team and the empty space on their trophy cupboard waiting for a third InterCol title, which will bring them level with Signal Hill as the winningest team in schools football with ten. But history, he says, is behind them.
“It really depends on what we do. We have to win the game on the pitch tomorrow. We’re not giving ourselves too much (pressure where Fatima’s record against us is concerned).”
Stating the obvious, Moses said that taking goalscoring chances will make the difference for either team.
“In a simple way, you have to score and prevent them from scoring. We have conceded two goals in open play in the season so far. We also have a strong defence that will have to hold up. We have the top goalscorer. Everything depends on the game and you can’t play it before the day. But we have reason to be confident in ourselves.
“(Fatima) seem to be one of the better organised teams in terms of playing in a structure, so it will be a good game.”
—Kern De Freitas