Phang shoulders Arnett’s penalty burden with calm in Red Stripe Premier League football
Arnett Gardens FC men's senior football team penalty taker, Andrew Phang, admitted that it not an easy job to score the 12-yard kick, especially in front of the home fans in the 'Jungle'.
Last Sunday, Phang converted his third penalty kick of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season against Montego Bay United in a 1-1 draw at Anthony Spaulding Complex in Trench Town, St Andrew. Phang scored in the 37th minute, but that goal was cancelled by Dino Williams, who converted also from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.
"Well, it kind of rough at times to take the penalty, but I always remain calm and execute for the team. On Sunday, looking around the 'Complex' I saw that the people were depending on me to score. And I did that. It was the first time we scored against MoBay for the season," Phang, Arnett's designated penalty taker, told The Gleaner.
That goal was Phang's third goal from the penalty spot and fifth of the season.
"My target for the season is 13 goals, so I am hoping to put away more goals as I have been getting some chances," the diminutive attacking midfielder said.
His coach, Jerome 'Jerry' Waite, believes that Phang is a technically good player, but needs to be more consistent.
"Phang is technically sound and has a good understanding of the game. He has been up and down, still needs to be consistent," Waite said.
Phang said the coach's assessment is right.
"My role is also to provide opportunities for others to score and defend as well. I need to improve in every game as I have been up and down," he stated.
Phang also has great respect for Waite, who also guided him during his Manning Cup days at Charlie Smith High.
"I highly rate Jerome as a top coach in Jamaica. He is good at motivating the players to do their best," Phang said.
Arnett are currently the RSPL leaders on 52 points, followed by Waterhouse (47), defending champions Montego Bay United (44) and Humble Lion (41), in the top four. With seven rounds remaining in the preliminary stage, Phang is confident Arnett will win the title for the first time since 2002.
"My team is a good one. We have depth, so I truly believe that we will advance to the semi-finals and go on to win the final," he added.
After leaving Charlie Smith in 2007, Phang represented Arnett at the senior level, then transferred to Harbour View where he spent four seasons. He returned to his home club in 2012.
"It was not easy getting back in the Arnett team as there are always quality players there. I had to step up and prove to the coach," he said.
Phang says "special big up" to his teammates, supporters, coaching staff and management. He also said that support from his family is great, "especially my uncle George Phang".
He is working hard to get a call to the national senior men's team.
"From I was about 14-year-old it has been a desire to represent Jamaica at any level and I have not given up on that," the 25-year-old concluded.