Wed, Oct

Naparima College coach Angus Eve shouts instructions during the Coca-Cola Intercol National Final between his school Naparima College and San Juan North Secondary at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Tuesday. Naps won 4-3 on sudden-death penalties after 0-0 regulation time to be crowned Coca-Cola National Intercol 2018 Champions.

It seems the pow­er of 'des­tiny' pre­vailed in Tues­day's Co­ca-Co­la Na­tion­al In­ter­col Fi­nal at the Ato Boldon Sta­di­um in Cou­va, where Na­pari­ma Col­lege won 4-3 on penal­ties to com­plete an un­blem­ished record in this sea­son's Sec­ondary Schools Foot­ball League (SS­FL).

At a post-match press con­fer­ence that fol­lowed the match, Na­pari­ma coach An­gus Eve ded­i­cat­ed the win to his fall­en for­mer team-mate Michael Mc­Comie who died on Tues­day night, but he ad­mit­ted he was not con­fi­dent of tak­ing the ti­tle, as he didn't be­lieve light­ning could strike twice.

Michael Mc Comie, the for­mer na­tion­al and St Au­gus­tine goal­keep­er died on Tues­day evening at the Hope Med­ical Hos­pi­tal af­ter doc­tors per­formed emer­gency surgery on a tu­mour. The 46-year-old was a for­mer na­tion­al play­er and coach and at­tend­ed St Au­gus­tine Sec­ondary School.

Mean­while, San Juan man­ag­er Stephen Clarke, on the oth­er hand, said his team fought hard, played a good game, but it just was not to be for them.

Clarke's men led by two goals in the penal­ty shoot-out, af­ter the game end­ed goal­less at the end of reg­u­la­tion time. And al­though his five kick­ers were the same ones who pro­duced a clean sheet in a sim­i­lar shoot-out against Trin­i­ty Col­lege East in the East In­ter­col fi­nal last week, the un­cer­tain­ty of the spot kicks rared its ug­ly head for the Bourg Mu­la­tresse men, who failed to hold their nerves for the first time this sea­son.

"We had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to win it at the fi­nal kick and it didn't hap­pen. The last penal­ty shout-out against Trin­i­ty East we use the same bunch of guys in the same or­der. This time around it didn't hap­pen. The guy who missed the fifth kick has been do­ing it all sea­son. He hasn't missed a spot kick for the en­tire sea­son, even for the Un­der-16 team which came up against Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege for the Na­tion­al ti­tle, and he scored, so it's safe to say that the nerves got the bet­ter of them," Clarke said.

"We are dis­ap­point­ed with the re­sult, how­ev­er, we feel proud for the mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty and the play­ers of the team. The boys fought re­al­ly hard, we gave it our best in the end in the penal­ty shoot-out but such is the na­ture of penal­ties. We are not dis­graced but we in­tend to come again next year to do bet­ter," Clarke said.

Eve's men too al­so gave it their all, but it was un­fath­omable for him to think his men, who came from three goals down in a pre­vi­ous shoot-out with south ri­vals Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege, could have re­peat­ed a sec­ond time. "I wasn't con­fi­dent. I didn't think that light­ning could strike twice. The first penal­ty shoot-out we missed the first three, but cred­it to the Levi Fer­nan­dez, he was fan­tas­tic, and cred­it to Tyrike An­drews," Eve ex­plained.

Some of Eve's men were re­quired to take an ex­am­i­na­tion be­fore the match, still, there was lit­tle to no im­pact from it.

The for­mer na­tion­al coach cred­it­ed his play­ers for the lev­el of con­sis­ten­cy for the sea­son, say­ing there was a fum­ble in the per­for­mance which led to a few drawn match­es ear­ly in the sea­son, but oth­er­wise, the play­ers were pro­fes­sion­al and con­sis­tent.

Some of Eve's play­ers will wing out on schol­ar­ships but he is, how­ev­er, promis­ing a strong team for the com­ing sea­son, with a num­ber of very tal­ent­ed young play­ers.