Club dispute affected Arnett's form - Thompson
Arnett Gardens central defender and leader O'Neil 'Bigga' Thompson admits that the team is finding it difficult to get back to the level they reached in the first two preliminary rounds in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) after their much-publicised club dispute.
Some players stayed away from training in protest against non-payment of salaries after the team came back from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship group stage earlier this year, which led to calls for the resignation of club president Patrick Roberts.
The defending RSPL champions have not won a game in the nation's top league since January 17, when they edged the University of the West Indies 2-1 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
However, Arnett finished second in the regular season, behind Portmore United, booking their spot in the semi-final.
Now, on Monday, in front of their own fans, the 'Junglists' will have a chance to overturn their 1-0 loss to Waterhouse in their first-leg semi-final clash, which was played last Monday in Drewsland.
Looking back on the last three months, Thompson admitted that the players could have dealt with the situation much better. However, he is confident that they can win the return leg on their home turf and advance to the final.
"There were a lot of players, who were on pause, so we are trying to get them back. I think it was a wrong move because a lot of people have been less match sharp because of the time they spent off," Thompson said. "Players must understand that whatever differences they had, there are better ways to deal with it than stop training. We did not prepare well in terms of how we went about it. We had changed our approach."
However, Thompson is certain that his team will turn things around on Monday.
"Whenever there is a Waterhouse/Arnett Gardens game, even if it is a practice match, it is always intense. We know that we have not been at our best for a long time in terms of winning. There are a lot of things that we have to get right come Monday night." Thompson pointed out.