Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shiva Boys' ready for Tigers in national semis

After upsetting rivals Presentation College San Fernando to win the South Zone final on Saturday at Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, Shiva Boys' Hindu College have their sights trained on the national Coca Cola InterCol title.

Standing in their way, though, are the defending champions, St Anthony's College's Tigers.

It has been a long wait for the Westmoorings boys to find out their opponents for today's semifinal at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain from 4.30 p.m., and an even longer wait for Shiva Boys' to get here after a protest and an abandoned final saw them playing five matches instead of the usual three.

Now, their mettle will be further tested by the North Zone winners, with the prize a spot in the final opposite St Augustine Secondary.

For seasoned St Anthony's coach Nigel Grosvenor, the challenge was keeping his charges focused on a final they twice prepared for, only to have the match postponed. It left them having to organise impromptu training sessions to keep physically ready for the contest.

"The problem now is that concentration on the game will be hard because exams have started," Grosvenor told the Express, yesterday. "I really can't say what frame of mind the guys will be in, now they're shifting a gear to exams. But we reached this far, so we coming out there to fight it. I suppose it's the same for every team."

Grosvenor admitted he has not seen much of Shiva Boys', and would have preferred to face beaten South finalists, Presentation.

"Before seeing Shiva Boys' I told myself I prefer to play Shiva Boys," Grosvenor revealed. "But to be honest when I saw them the first time, I seriously had second thoughts; they're attacking more as a team, whereas Presentation's main attacker was Shakiel Henry. They have a nice defence, but I believe the best form of defence is attack. And Shiva, they attack with everybody."

St Anthony's themselves are known as an attacking team that like to possess the football, and according to their head coach, they will not be detouring from that plan.

"They're both attacking teams. They're attacking and we're going to be attacking. You're looking forward to a lot of goals. They have the best 'keeper in the League; we have a very young 'keeper, (his) first time, 15 years old. We now have to find a way to get past (Shiva Boys goalie Kwesi Weston)."

Shiva Boys', meanwhile, are still jubilant from their win over "Pres", and brimming with confidence, said manager Sheldon Maharaj.

"We preferred to win [the South Zone title] fair on the field. So we were extremely happy we could have beaten Pres; we proved that yesterday (Saturday)," he stated.

Yesterday was a rest day for the Penal team, before they travel to Mucurapo to face the Tigers. Maharaj said the team had faced today's opponents in a pre-season practice match. He is confident they will hold their own.

"We're at that state where we are 100 per cent ready," Maharaj said. "This victory gave us a little mental boost, and we are ready to win."