RSPL Finals MVP Marvin Morgan being interviewed after scoring a fantastic second goal in the Arnett Gardens 2-0 win over Portmore United in the Red Stripe Premier League final earlier this year.
The start of the 2017-18 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) was postponed due to what the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) describes as a "series of administrative failings on the part of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA)". Newly appointed President of the Jamaica Football Federation Micheal Ricketts is excited and said he is ready and eager to serve his country the best way he can while sitting at the helm. The Red Stripe Premier League kicks off today with four matches and a double header on Monday night at the Anthony Spaulding Complex to culminate the match day one fixtures.
Arnett Gardens vs Sandals South Coast
Arnett Gardens will attempt to retain the title after reaping more success with manager Jerome Waite. This has been Waite's second title in the last four seasons in charge. The champions will host new boys Sandals South Coast in their opening fixture at The Anthony Spaulding Complex on Monday night. The Junglist are desperate to get off to a good start and the fans will be anticipating a workmanlike performance from the champions. Arnett Gardens cannot take Sandals South Coast, who have been impressive in pre season, lightly. Arnett is usually more of a threat mid way the season and it is likely to be more of the same if the comments of the man in charge are to be believed. Sandals main aim will be to stay in the top flight and whilst doing so will hope to spring a few surprises.
Portmore United vs Cavilliers SC
Beaten finalists Portmore United will face Cavlier SC who have returned to the nation's top flight after a year absence, in the curtain raiser at 6:00pm on Monday. Cavlier with the return of Chevone 'Messi' Marsh has a point to prove and are hoping to be a stumbling block in Portmore's title quest. Portmore however has beefed up security in their defensive third with the acquisition of Dicoy Williams from Arnett Gardens and Ryan Whittingham from Brompton Blast FC Canada. The last time these two teams met, Portmore came away 1-0 winners, but with a new look and a re energized Cavalier there might just be an upset.
Harbour View vs Montego Bay United
Harbour View will open up against Montego United at Harbour View Mini Stadium in Sunday's late game. Mobay have been playing some quality football over the last five seasons despite being unable to retain their title last term. The last four games between these two teams has produced 7 goals Mobay with two wins and a draw and Harbour View with one win and a draw. If Harbour is to return to their glory days and live up to their heavily weighted nickname "Stars of the East" they will have to get it right from the opener.
UWI v Waterhouse
Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey's men face a tricky first match in the RSPL, with the Drewsland based team taking a trip up to Mona and it is the second consecutive season they are making this trip in their opening game. They lost 1-0 to UWI in this fixture courtesy of a 61st penalty kick by Dwayne Smith. The Drewsland club have established themselves in the top division, but they remain a much more dangerous prospect at home than on the road.
Waterhouse have added the talents of Dasha Satchwell, Mark Miller Andre Dawson and Tremaine Stewart just four of the 16 players who were transferred to the squad to expand on Bailey's flair options, and to strengthen core the team. Dawson will be expected to lead the goal count after arriving from Jamalco FC, and the move to the Waterhouse is a huge opportunity to prove himself as a class top-striker. UWI on the other will not roll over and play dead. In fact, "The Bowl" has become a fortress and this is where they racked up most of their points on their journey to the semi finals last season. Coach Marcel Gayle did a bit of business to improve his chances of going one step further bringing in ace midfielder Ryan Miller a St Georges Manning Cup champion with whom he has reunited and is expected to lead the charge. Stephen Barnett and Oshane Jenkins are expected to get a lot of playing time. They are two quality young players who can be very lethal on their day, but Waterhouse is the team to beat especially with Bailey in charge of the club in his first full season.
Boys Town Vs Humble Lion
Andrew Price will begin the next chapter in his Boys Town coaching career at home to Humble Lion. This has always been a meaty encounter between the two. Boys Town made some serious acquisitions in the window and is expected to finish in the top six if the new boys find good form. Former Marverly-Hughenden striker,Phillip Peddie, Andrew Peddlar and Wayne Williams are expected to get among the goals and to sure up things at the back. Humble Lion on the other hand did some reshuffling and shopping. Owner Mike Henry has lost patience with coach Donovan Duckie and has opted for a proven championship coach Lenworth Hyde. The tricky Romario Campbell and the wiley Shaquille Dyer formerly of Waterhouse FC will be handed the wand to create a little magic to take them over the finish line. In this identical opening fixture last season Humble Lions walked away with all three points, with a comfortable 2-0 win. However, the match was played at Effortville. What will this year's fixture bring? Your guess is as good as ours.
Reno FC vs Tivoli Gardens FC
Tivoli Gardens will travel to Frome to face Reno in their opening fixture. There has never been a dull moment in this fixture and this promises not to be a dull one. Two former champions who know what it takes to win the title and know how important it is to get off on a winning note. Tivoli is desperate to get back to the number one spot in the country. As such they brought in Colorado Murray from Coventry United in England to help in their bid to return to the summit. Along with their heavy transfer shopping they will be without their playing surface of the Edward Seaga Sports Complex due to some renovation work being done there. Their home games will be played at neighbors Arnett Gardens until the field is ready. Reno is always tough at home and usually takes full advantage of teams who have to travel long distance and the moist playing conditions mainly because it rains regularly in the west. However call it want you want to call it, this will be a cracker. The last encounter ended in a 1-0 win for the home team. Let's hope with their new look and added incentives it won't be a miserable ride back home to Kingston for the Kingston for the Omar Edwards coached team.