Proper time management and self-discipline might sound like clichés, but it is exactly what has propelled Jamaica College’s Digicel Manning Cup Captain Duncan McKenzie to nine CSEC Subjects – all grade 1s with eight straight A profiles.

The 17-year-old player, who as a precocious 15-year-old netted three goals and had eight assists as Jamaica College (JC) won their 30th Manning title in 2019, is now trusted with the task of leading the “Dark Blues” this season to defend their crown and to lead his school’s pursuit of a record 31 Manning Cup titles.

The pressure has never been an issue for McKenzie based on his ability to successfully balance school work and sports over the years even as he is expected to lead with distinction on the field as he did in the classroom.

While in third form, he aced his Human and Social Biology CSEC examinations with a Grade 1 and a straight-A profile and followed up with passes in English A, English B, Mathematics, Spanish, Physics, Information Technology, Principles of Business and Principles of Accounts.

“I believe the key to balancing school work and football is proper time management and self-discipline. From a very young age, this has been emphasized by both my parents and I have learnt to structure my time well,” said McKenzie.

“Yes, it is difficult to strike the balance but it can be achieved. My advice to the younger generation is to practice good habits from early so that they become routine”.

Young McKenzie who idolizes Lionel Messi and loves Barcelona, one day hopes to play football at the highest level.

“I aspire to play football professionally. However, I would still like to pursue a degree in Accounting or Business Management,” he explained.

JC drew their opening match against Calabar 0-0 on Saturday and is joint third in what is arguably the group of death that includes five former champions in early group leaders St George’s College and Charlie Smith High School.

However, McKenzie is confident his team will rise to the challenge.

“I believe that we have a talented and highly motivated squad that is capable of defending our title,” said McKenzie.

“Playing without spectators is a new and strange experience. I believe that it lessens the performances of all teams in the competition.

“We are all aware of how important it is to have fan support at matches. They spur teams on and provide additional motivation for players to perform well. I hope that in the near future, we will be able to bring back fans safely to the games.”

JC has again been tagged as favourites but McKenzie is not taking any team lightly.

“As a result of the pandemic, there are a lot of unknowns. Consequently, I regard all teams in the competition as challengers for the title,” he said.

 

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