Bernard: KC as good as any team
KINGSTON COLLEGE’s Manning Cup coach, Ludlow Bernard, said his current team may not be as talented as his three previous squads, but this group is still capable of going all the way in winning the competition this year.
Bernard, who has won a title in each of his four seasons at the North Street-based institution, including the Walker Cup in 2015 and 2016, Manning Cup in 2017 and Super Cup in 2018, pointed that inexperience will be a factor all teams must overcome this term.
As a result, he thinks the competition is evenly poised and that if he is able to get the best out of his players, they can reclaim the title.
“I have mentioned it to the players that I do not think this team is as good as the previous three teams,” said Bernard. “However, that does not mean they are not capable of winning the competition. I think they are as good as any other team.
“Right now, for me it is about getting the best out of these players, and if I get the best out of them it should be good enough to win,” he added.
While he believes that all teams have been impacted by the lack of football activity brought on by the pandemic, especially at the youth level, Bernard said the first thing is to restore their ‘competitive edge’.
“Preparation of the team has gone fairly well. We have been on the field since August and we would have tempered training to suit our conditions. Things like curfew restricted our ability to train. But we have navigated that and have come around prepared in all respects,” he stated.
“We are a little short in the competitiveness of the players. They haven’t been competitive for a while, so their competitive edge is missing and we will take our time to elevate those levels. But we have been trying to build a momentum going into the season and that (competitive edge) will help us in our first game,” Bernard noted.
“It is a truncated season so we will not have the luxury of trial and error. We have to hit the ground running, although that is going to be a very stiff challenge for us. But I think we are ready,” he stated.
He surmised that experience will be a concern for all teams, but doesn’t think it will be a major factor as all the teams are in the same position, hence it will come down to how coaches manage their squads.
“We are all in the same boat. Everybody is at square one. I think it will come down to the schematics of the coaches, who can manipulate the use of the players in order to get the best result. But I am relying on the expertise of the players to pull us across the line,” he added.
Kingston College are in Group C with Wolmer’s Boys’, St Catherine High, Papine High, Clan Carthy High, Mona High and St Mary’s College.
They open their season against Mona High at Stadium East on Saturday.