State of concern! - Newly imposed SOE worries west Kingston football fraternity
Two prominent figures in west Kingston football say the State of Emergency (SOE) imposed on that area yesterday has left them very concerned about what it may mean for their clubs going forward.
Leon Mitchell, president of Trench Town based Boys' Town FC, said that he was surprised to learn of the decision taken and announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday.
"I hope that all of the issues that have led to this State of Emergency are rectified by the time the (Kingston and St Andrew Football Association) Super League starts," Mitchell told The Gleaner. "However, I'm very concerned about the impact that this will have on preparations for the tournament. If the players are unable to train, to understand their role, to be signed, it would be a travesty for the up and coming programme."
Mitchell is especially concerned as Boys' Town had been making plans to return to hosting matches at their Collie Smith Drive venue. The Red Brigade had spent the last three seasons playing home fixtures at the Barbican Complex and the club had felt that this affected crowd turn out. Mitchell said he is conscious that fans may now still find difficulty coming to matches when the season starts next month.
"The question that one would ask is 'Should we be training somewhere else and should we be playing somewhere else?' he said. "Those are issues that I will have to speak to my board and general committee about in the next couple of days."
Head coach of Tivoli Gardens FC, Omar Edwards said that the imposition of the SOE negatively affected the turnout for their Red Stripe Premier League game yesterday, although it resulted in a 2-1 win over Reno. Tivoli hosted Reno at the Harbour View Stadium, not because of the SOE, but because of work being done on their home field at the Edward Seaga Complex on Darling Street, in west Kingston.
"It has decreased our support (yesterday) when we played Reno," Edwards said. "Normally we would have had more support from the spectators, but due to the operation, I understand that many of the spectators were detained. I'm hoping things will return to normal as soon as possible."
Edwards is also head coach of Denham Town High School, who have an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup clash with west Kingston rivals and hosts Tivoli Gardens High School today. He said that he does not foresee any issues for players from either school, however, like Mitchell, he is concerned about crowd turnout."
"I am hoping it will not affect our preparation, and the game tomorrow," he said. "It is schoolboys playing, so I don't believe it will hinder or stop them from going to school or training, or even playing, but I'm just hoping that it does not take away the support that is needed from both teams."
The area covered by the state of emergency include: Oakland Road, sections of Waltham Park Road, Delamere Avenue, Delacree Road, and Maxfield Avenue Rosseau Road, Lyndhurst Road and Studio One Boulevard.
It extends to Slipe Road, heading to Orange Street, Harbour Street, Ocean Boulevard, Marcus Garvey Drive, sections of Greenwhich Park, Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town and Lizard Town and includes sections of Spanish Town Road.