Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Thomas anticipates fierce Club Championships

Published:Wednesday | May 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Arnett Gardens FC assistant coach Eugene Williams (left), Portmore United head coach Shavar Thomas (second left), FLOW vice president of marketing Carlo Redwood (center), Professional Football Association of Jamaica chairman Don Anderson (second right), and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts in discussion at the CONCACAF Club Championship final launch at the JFF headquarters in New Kingston yesterday.

Having captured the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) over a week ago, Portmore United's head coach Shavar Thomas said they are very confident ahead of this year's FLOW CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship four-team tournament.

RSPL semi-finalists Arnett Gardens, Central FC of Trinidad and Tobago, and Club Atletico Pantoja from the Dominican Republic are the other participating teams in the championships. The competition, which is being hosted by Portmore United, will be played at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex from May 11-13.

Speaking at yesterday's press launch, which was held at the Jamaica Football Federation head office in Kingston, Thomas said his team has been preparing well for the tournament and his players are very upbeat.

"We are just coming off a Premier League championship win, feeling good about ourselves," said Thomas.

"Our players are confident and they have been putting in the hard work every day, and so they are ready and raring to go," he said.

"This competition is very important to us because it is a chance to win another trophy and to advance to the Club Champions League, where we get to play against teams from Mexico and MLS (Major League Soccer), so we are all upbeat and looking forward to this championships," he said.

However, Thomas added that he is expecting a tough tournament because all the teams are very good sides.

"There will be tough games because these clubs have a lot of overseas players and they pay a lot of money, so this competition is a big deal. It is no joke," Thomas said.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts said his association fully supports the competition because it will help to expose local players.

"This is no ordinary competition because this could very well take one of our teams into World Club competition, so we want to give it the best we can," said Ricketts.

The winners qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, while the runners-up and third-place team qualify for the 2018 CONCACAF League.

The fourth-place team enters the play-off against the winners of Tier 2 for a place in the 2018 CONCACAF League.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com