San Juan North Secondary’s coach Jerry Moe has referred to it as the “Derby of the East” when his team faces St Augustine Secondary, aka the “Green Machine”, today in the Coca-Cola InterCol East Zone final from 3.30 pm at the Larry Gomes Stadium, in Malabar.

San Juan’s path to the zonal final came through Trinity College East, who they defeated 2-1 in the semi-finals. The Green Machine, rolling along with 12 goals in their last two games, easily defeated Valencia Secondary 4-1 to take the other berth.

For coach Moe, it will be a battle of two teams with a rivalry rooted in history and two sides that are adapting to a changing football landscape. “Both teams are going through a transition phase,” he said, explaining that the two teams had lost key staff and players from the previous season. “So, the key will be the players who have the confidence and who play with commitment and passion on the day. I think the team that does that will be successful.”

Comparing the rivalry to that of a Manchester (United/City) derby in the English Premier League, Moe said the mental aspect of the game will be more important than strategic considerations. “It is about more than just tactics or strategy,” he told the Express. “What is necessary is the right mindset that will overcome all of the technical ability of one of the closest rivalries in schools football since the 1980s,” 

“We have a lot of good players, some of them with nicks and knocks who have carried this team. But what is important is that they have the right attitude going into the final and don’t let the occasion get the better of them,” Moe concluded.

Green Machine coach Adrian Romain has a slightly different view of how the final will pan out. He believes his team’s cohesion and dependability will form the basis of a winning approach and result. “My team’s strength is that they are a disciplined unit; a hard-working young team, very young but at the end of the day, they will execute the coach’s plan, whatever plan I put out on Monday, like they have done all season,” Romain said.

“So we will be playing attacking... and we will be entertaining, but the main objective is we would love to win the title,” Romain said, adding his charges need to dig deep, play with full concentration for 90 minutes, and score all the chances that come their way.

“We beat them 1-0 during the league so we know they will be coming for revenge...but we are upbeat about our chances and looking forward to the final.”