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Miracle Ministries’ Jabari Rodriguez, second from right, celebrates his goal against Carapichaima East Secondary in the SSFL Central Zone Intercol semifinal at Edinburgh 500 ground on November 14th 2023, in Chaguanas. PHOTO BY: Daniel Prentice

AFTER several of their players were sidelined by the flu last week, Central zone championship division winners Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School are intent on booking their promotion to the 2024 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) premier division season.

On February 24, Miracle Ministries' match away to Moruga Secondary in the SSFL Big 5 championship playoffs was postponed after ten players from the Central outfit came down with "flu-like symptoms."

The postponement of Miracle Ministries' clash with Moruga meant the SSFL had to push back the remaining rounds of the Big 5 competition.

Miracle Ministries will now make the trip to the bottom-placed Moruga (one point) on March 4, and their Big 5 campaign will conclude with an encounter against East zone championship division winners St Augustine Secondary (seven points) on March 8.

The "Green Machine" of St Augustine have already sealed promotion to the premier division, and Miracles Ministries coach Kern Cupid hopes his team can follow suit in the next few days.

Cupid, a former Trinidad and Tobago international defender, said his team would have loved the opportunity to play Moruga last Saturday, as the southerners were coming off back-to-back defeats against Signal Hill Secondary (3-1) and Blanchisseuse Secondary (5-2) respectively.

"To be honest, it's unfortunate we didn't play on Saturday, as we could have capitalised on Moruga's form. They would have been low on confidence," Cupid told Newsday.

Six of Miracle Ministries' regular starters were affected by the flu, but Cupid said his players are almost back to full strength. They were all expected to feature in the team's training session on Thursday.

In the Big 5 playoffs thus far, Miracle Ministries have played to consecutive goalless draws against Blanchisseuse and Signal Hill, and currently sit in fourth spot on the five-team table. With the top three teams gaining premier-division promotion, Cupid says his team knows victory in the next game is non-negotiable.

"They have a very good playing surface in Moruga and I think it will really suit our style of play," Cupid said. "We respect Moruga, but we need to go and get three points. We are aiming to get four-six points in the next two games."

Cupid lauded the experience of the St Augustine team, but is confident of his own team's ability to get the job done and seal their spot in the SSFL's top flight.

"Now that the players (affected by the flu) are close to full fitness, we are confident of getting positive results in these two games."

Signal Hill and Blanchisseuse – both with four points – also have their sights on promotion, and will stake their claim when they face each other in the final round of action in Tobago on March 8.

SOURCE: T&T Newsday

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