Western trio eye bright 2012
Adrian Frater, News Editor
When the 2011-12 Red Stripe Premier League resumes on January 4, the western trio of Montego Bay United Football Club (MBUFC), Reno FC and Village United, who are all languishing in the bottom half of the 12-team competition, will have lofty expectations.
MBUFC, the best placed of the trio in ninth position on 21 points, will be looking to significantly strengthen their squad through the addition of several South American players, who have been recruited by the club president, Orville Powell, and the team's Brazilian coach, Nedier Dos Santos.
"Our aim is to create a major impact on this competition, just competing is not enough. We want to put ourselves in a position to win the championship," said Powell, who bought the old Seba United franchise at the start of the season and rebranded it MBUFC.
After an inauspicious start to the season, during which they went five games before securing a win on the field (they were awarded points against Boys' Town), MBUFC have now settled down and are unbeaten in the competition's second round.
Marksmen lead charge
With top marksmen Mouracio Gordon and Leon Irving, with six and five goals, respectively, leading the charge, MBUFC have had a lot to smile about in recent weeks after securing good results against the likes of Waterhouse (3-1), Arnett Gardens (2-1) and league leaders Portmore United (3-3).
"We are not yet where we want to be. Our decision-making on the field needs to improve, but we are getting better with each game," said coach Dos Santos. "We should be much stronger when the league resumes, based on the players we are getting."
Reno, who got off to an enterprising start but have been plagued by inconsistent form, are just above the relegation zone in 10th position on 20 points.
"We have a good team, but we need to become more consistent," said Reno's head coach, Wendell Downswell. "The teams that do well in competitions like these are the ones that can maintain a high level of consistency throughout the season."
Reno need to score more. They have scored 17 goals and given up 21, and forwards Nicholi Findlayson and Renorio Downswell (four goals each) need to hit the target more often in upcoming matches. With a string of recent poor results, including a 4-1 loss to Portmore United and 2-0 to Harbour View, Reno will have to lift their performances in the new year.
Village on the rebound
Village United, the worst placed of the western teams, sit uncomfortably at the bottom of the standings on 14 points, four points below Highgate FC. However, based on recent form, Village look much better than where they currently sit.
"Once we fix our goalscoring problem, we should be okay," said Village's coach, Kendal Mercury. "We are not being outplayed ... . It is just that we need to put away more of the chances we create."
Within recent weeks, Village have been showing much improvement before the goal with top striker Dino Williams (7) and young Ronaldo Rodney (3) leading the charge. With recent wins against champions Tivoli Gardens (1-0), Highgate United (1-0) and Humble Lions (3-2), the team clearly has good momen-tum going into 2012.
After winning the NPL title nine times between 1986-87 and 1996-97, western Jamaica has not had any NPL success in the past 14 years.