Shawn Cooper, the Presentation College, San Fernando coach does not want to put any more pressure on his young bunch of players heading into the Coca Cola National InterCol Final against San Juan North Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain Couva on Wednesday.
However, he wants to avoid a situation of 'deja vu' when the teams meet from 4:30 pm this afternoon.
The game will follow an earlier Girls InterCol final encounter between Pleasantville and Signal Hills Secondary from 2:30 pm at the same venue.
On Tuesday, Cooper said it could be a case of deja vu if his players do not win on Wednesday.
In his school's last InterCol final match in 2016, they defeated San Juan North 2-1 in the League but lost 1-0 to them in the InterCol final. This year, the southerners were again 2-1 winners over the San Juan boys, but this time they will be hoping to prevent the jinx of another loss to the same team.
Besides that, coach Cooper hasn't been too hard on his players, reducing his training sessions to just a couple times a week to allow the players the opportunity to recuperate.
"After losing some nine players from last year, we have made it very clear this year that it would have been a rebuilding year for the team, and to be fair to them, they have exceeded our expectations so far, because we were not expecting them to achieve as much as we have," Cooper explained.
He added, "We are already very proud of them so what I want is for the young players, is for them to go out there and have fun, do their best, and try to win the match." The irony, however, is that Cooper's 'young' bunch of players will have the task of earning the school their second InterCol title in more than 44 years.
Presentation's last InterCol win came back in 1975 and despite the inexperience of the team this year, they have racked up a few impressive achievements, such as conceding the least amount of goals for the Premier Division held earlier (7 goals) and just two in the InterCol play-offs. The southerners also finished the League in the second position and will be in a similar position should fortune not favour them this afternoon.
Meanwhile, San Juan manager Stephen Clarke said his team wants to finish the season with a bang, by winning it for a large number of players who will be leaving the school after this season. They include instrumental striker Renaldo Boyce, Isaiah Chase, Malik Farrier, Elijah Garcia and Kendo Mathias, among others.
"We are living our dream of playing on the first and last day of the SSFL, so why wouldn't we want to win? At this time we feel very confident that we are going to win the title, once we dig deep and play the type of football we know we can play. Too besides, we will have several players playing their last game, so we want to win that for them," Clarke said.
He dismissed concerns his team was beaten by their counterparts in the League, saying, "They played us when we were going through a difficult patch, but now it's the final and the players are aware of how important it is for them," Clarke said.