Coach Tan added: “The goal was out of the blue, it was probably impossible to save.
“He is a technically gifted player and can definitely reach greater heights with more training.”
Zechariah was pleased with the hard work his teammates put in to win the game. He said: “Everyone wanted to win, and put in their A game.
“It was unfortunate I wasn’t able to help the team (on the pitch), but it feels better to win again after last year.”
Tan agreed, saying: “Going back-to-back was never easy. The boys worked their socks off today.”
Although they lost, SAJC captain Isaac Lim “cannot thank my teammates enough for their efforts”.
“We gave our best, so no complaints,” he said.
SINGAPORE - Despite losing their captain Zechariah Woon to suspension in the lead up to the final, Victoria Junior College (VJC) put on a solid display to claim the boys’ A Division football title with a 1-0 defeat of St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday.
It was VJC’s second successive title, having beaten the same team by the same scoreline in last year’s final. It was also the first time they have retained the National School Games title since 2002.
VJC had to make tactical tweaks to provide more support to their defence in the skipper’s absence, which included moving left-winger Anton Goh to the defensive midfielder position.
Coach Tan Yew Hwee said of the change: “(Zechariah) was a centre-back, and I reckoned that without him, I would need Anton to do more defensive work.
“I played Anton in midfield in the semi-finals to surprise the opponents, and he did very well. So I decided to do it again.
“In my opinion, he was the man of the match today.”
The switch paid off, as Victoria kept things tight at the back, limiting SAJC to a few half-chances. And Anton was satisfied with his team’s performance defensively.
The 17-year-old said: “Our defence was solid. It’s been a problem for us this season, conceding quite a few, but I’m proud we managed to lock down defensively.”
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with the best opportunity falling to VJC winger Ryan Peh, who evaded three defenders but saw his shot deflected well wide in the 39th minute.
Despite the lack of decisive passing in the final third, the crowd of around 1,200 supporters who turned up never stopped cheering, raising their volume whenever a clearance or tackle was made.
The intensity went up a few notches in the second half, after SAJC spurned a golden chance in the 48th minute. Having skipped past goalkeeper Letrodo Macabenta, who was off his line, Jayden Liew could only hit his shot wide.
That served as a wake-up call for VJC, who opened the scoring 12 minutes later. Ryan’s cross from the left was cleared only as far as attacking midfielder Garv Sahoo, who gave goalkeeper Joash Tan no chance with his volley into the bottom corner.
Garv, who is in his first year in junior college, said: “It was an unreal moment. I will do anything to live it again. I couldn’t believe it. Nothing will come close to this.”