The 2014/2015 season of the Red Stripe Premier League is set to kick off today amidst controversy and uncertainty. At least three clubs threatened not to participate on the opening weekend of the competition, but after an emergency meeting on Friday which was called by Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President, Captain Horace Burrell, two of the clubs have withdrawn their threats.
However, there still remains uncertainty about the playing of the first marquee game of the season, the live Monday Night fixture. Introduced by main sponsors Red Stripe, Monday Night football has been a real hit with fans across the country and the defending champions Montego Bay United are set to face newly promoted Reno FC at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex. Mobay United have threatened not to play and should the game not go ahead, it would surely be a slap in the face of the sponsors and would come at a huge financial loss based on the amount of money required to produce a night match.
The games that are definitely on today include, Harbour View against Arnett Gardens at the Harbour View Mini-Stadium, Rivoli United facing Cavalier SC at Bramwell Clarke Sports Complex, Humble Lion hosts Tivoli Gardens at the Effortville Community Centre and Sporting Central host former champions Boys Town at the Juici Patties Park.
The game between Waterhouse FC and the other promoted team and first timers to top flight football Barbican FC, has been postponed as five Waterhouse players are unavailable due to national selection.
The game between Harbour View who finished second last year and Arnett Gardens who finished fourth has lots of tongues wagging. The game is expected to be an exciting affair as Arnett recruited a number of talented players during the transfer window to bolster an already good squad. Dicoy Williams who played for Harbour View last season, Marvin Morgan who was at Waterhouse, Jahmeel Thompson who was at Tivoli Gardens and Alonzo Adlam from the relegate Portmore United are just some of the names that have joined the Jerome Waite coached aggregation.
While Arnett boast a powerful line-up, the hosts Harbour View begin the season without their leading goal scorer from last season, Brian Brown. The striker is on loan to the Philadelphia Union in the MLS until November and his goals will certainly be missed. The Stars of the East still has a quality unit and will be looking for a good start at home beginning at 3:30pm.
Rivoli United must get used to life without the club legend and goal scorer extraordinaire, Devon Hodges. The hitman has traded the red and black of his old team for the red, green and gold of Humble Lion. When Rivoli host Cavalier SC today at 4:00pm, they will be hoping that someone else will step up and fill what are certainly big boots.
Humble Lion will look to leap on the uncertain Tivoli Gardens, who only a few weeks ago were pulled from the competition by club chairman, Edward Seaga. After receiving “financial aid” the withdrawal was rescinded and Tivoli are set to go again in what appears to be the last year of the current system of top flight football in the country. Tivoli has lost a few players to transfers and it will be interesting to see how the West Kingston team begins life under head coach Alvin Shaw begins who was assistant to Glendon “Admiral” Bailey for many years. This game gets under way at 6:30pm.
Sporting Central Academy is looking for a fast start to their campaign at 3:30pm after an ordinary season last term. They welcome a Boys Town team that struggled badly last year and will hope to catch them napping. For their part, the Red Brigade welcome back home Xavian Virgo from Harbour View are hoping that the new campaign will bring much better fortune as they look to make a serious challenge this season.