Photo: Newly appointed Reggae Boyz assistant coach and Arnett Gardens head coach Jerome Waite will be focusing on the RSPL game against Portmore United FC at the Antony Spaulding Sports Complex on Sunday.
After four match days of the 2016-2017 Red Stripe Premier League campaign, both Waterhouse FC and Boys Town FC are yet to gain a point. Four losses on the trot see both former premier league champions propping up the table with Waterhouse rooted at the bottom on goal difference.
Waterhouse travels to the Harbour View Mini-Stadium for the late game starting at 7:00pm on Sunday, hoping to get the better of another struggling team. Harbour View FC have gained just three points from four starts and are desperate for their first win at home this season. Both clubs can attribute the poor start to the season, partly to the absence of some senior players at the beginning of the campaign.
Regardless of the issues however, both teams will be hunting the three points and would have benefitted from the unscheduled break last weekend due to the passage of Hurricane Matthew. More contact time with their senior players would suggest the availability of a stronger squad for today’s encounter for both teams.
Harbour View assistant coach Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner admitted the need to insert some of the senior players ahead of schedule, at the weekly press conference at the home of the league’s title sponsors, Red Stripe. “Based on how the season is going we will have to use some of the senior players earlier than we had expected,” he stated.
“We wanted them to have a full preseason before putting them back in but the situation demands that we put some of them in now.”
Waterhouse head coach Marvin Tate is hopeful of a good performance and gaining points for the first time this season.
“We have some senior players returning to the set up and by now everyone knows that Jermaine Anderson has returned to training. This has been a big boost to the squad and the confidence is returning.”
Boys Town will host the hottest team in the league right now, Jamalco FC, in the live television game starting at 3:00pm. After losing their first game ever in top flight football, the new kids on the block have gone on a three game win streak in which that have plundered nine goals while conceding just two, including a 3-0 demolition to both the UWI FC and Waterhouse FC.
The Red Brigade has conceded two goals per game since the start of the season and will have to find a way to stop the Jamalco goal scoring machine in addition to finding a way to goal. They have scored just three goals so far this season, all of which have come from the boots of Shamar Nicholson. The 20 year old is in his third season at the club and has been told in no uncertain terms by his coach Andrew Price that the goal scoring responsibilities rest on his young shoulders.
“I told him that I need a goal a game from his this season because he is our most senior striker despite his young age. He has almost given us that so far this season and we hope that we can get some more form him on Sunday,” Price stated.
Price admitted that the passage of the hurricane had hampered his team’s preparations but was hoping to be back on track for Sunday.
“We had to give the players time off to secure themselves and their families during the passage of Hurricane Matthew. We only resumed training on Tuesday but we hope to get in as many training sessions as possible, including Saturday morning and hopefully that will be good enough to get is ready for Jamalco.”
Rayon Johnson, head coach of Jamalco FC says that his players have remained grounded despite the fantastic start to the season and that they would be going all out for three points on Sunday.
“The players continue to work hard in training. Hard work has been the key to our success so far this season so we won’t go away from that. The players have remained grounded, no one is getting a big head, the season is young so we have to stay focused and go out there for three points each match day.”
Sandwiched in between the late game and the early game are four other fixtures which begin at 3:30pm.
Tivoli Gardens FC are in 8th position in the league on 6 points but are only three points off the leaders in a tightly bunched table. They host 9th placed Marverley/Hughenden who are just a point behind them.
Neither team has had a bad start to the league and despite their lowly placing, a win for either team could see them shoot up into the top four at the end of the match day. Both teams lost last time out and will be looking to return to winning ways today.
Humble Lion will host the other form team in the competition, the defending champions Montego Bay United, at the Effortville Community Centre. Like Jamalco FC, Mobay United has won three in a row and will have no fear travelling to the ‘Lions’ Den’. But Humble Lion who have won their last two games are a different animal this season, making some good acquisitions in the offseason and they will be looking to provide a stern test for the visitors today.
Both teams are locked on 9 points, like the league leaders Jamalco, but Mobay have scored six goals compared to Humble Lion’s four.
Mid-table teams Reno FC and UWI FC will square off in what is expected to be another keen contest at Frome. Both teams are on 7 points and would be happy with the returns so far this term.
With not much between them, the winner is likely to be the team that wants it more on the day. UWI has proven to be a good traveling team but Reno does well at home which sets up this game nicely for the fans.
In the days other game, a block buster awaits at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex. Both Arnett Gardens and Portmore United have seven points and won on the last match day. Neither team had the preseason they would have desired but believe they are now at the point where they can push on and put a good set of results together.
Arnett Gardens welcomes the return of Marvin Morgan to the fold and will be looking to return to their free scoring days. They will continue to miss their key player and last season’s most exciting midfielder Vishnul Harris, who is recovering from foot surgery.
Portmore United has never been a team to bang in many goals, but their defensive solidity has helped them achieve major success. They will be looking to keep the home team off the score sheets today in what is expected to be a very tight game.
Expect more movement in the tables for a number of teams after all the games have been played today.