Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
When the Red Stripe Premier League gets back into action today with five scheduled matches, special could be the buzz word.
It will require special skills to resurrect the seasons of former Premier League big guns Arnett Gardens and Portmore United who sit at ninth and twelfth places, respectively, in the 12-team league. Jerome Waite, comparing himself to José Mourinho who dubs himself the 'special one', following his success in his first stint at the club, promises to take the team where a number of others have failed.
"Target me as Jamaica's special one," Waite was quoted as saying recently upon his return to the club following the resignation of Calvin Lewis who is reportedly heading back to Portmore United following the firing of technical director, Kenny Dyer.
"It is always good to return to Arnett, it's my home club," said Waite who led Arnett to back-to-back titles in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.
In order to turn his team's fortunes around, Waite said the players will have to be focused mentally and physically as well be ready tactically for the games. Physically, he said the players were not up to par as they were only 40 per cent fit.
But while Waite will have grand ideas about getting his players to where he believes they should be, he may have to wait a bit longer as today's opposition will be no easy pickings. Coach Donovan Duckie has Montego Bay United looking like a formidable team. Leslie St Fleur, Dino Williams, Allan Ottey and company appear hungry for success and will have no fears heading into the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.
The still winless Portmore United have brought back Linval Dixon, who according to reports, was let go with Dyer, back to steady the ship until a deal with a permanent replacement, rumoured to be Lewis, is installed. In their five games thus far the team which last won the league in 2011-2012, under Lewis' guidance, has scored just one goal and has managed just one point.
Their opponents, Harbour View, who started the league slowly, have gradually improved their form, are finding the back of the net and may not be the opponents that Portmore need to see at this time. Brian Brown seems to be finding his shooting boots again and will be eager to add to his tally as he seeks to impress national coach Winfried Schäfer.
Leaders Humble Lion will also want to put on a special performance for their home fans as they host fourth-place August Town. The promoted August Town, like Humble Lion, have surprised many by how well they have done. They have drawn four of their matches and won the other to be one of only two teams yet to be beaten in the competition.
Humble Lion's coach Geoffrey Maxwell, who previously staked claim to the title of the local 'special one', has managed to work wonders with a team, but for the Wolfe brothers, Carlington Smith and the Fletcher cousins, appear short on talent.
In the lone Monday night game, the first one for the RSPL season, Waterhouse should prove just a bit too tough for the Merron Gordon-coached Sporting Central team.
3:00 p.m: Humble Lion vs August Town - Effortville Community Centre
3:00 p.m: Boys Town vs Rivoli United - Collie Smith Complex
4:30 p.m: Cavalier vs Tivoli Gardens - Stadium East
6:00 pm Arnett Gardens vs Montego Bay United - Anthony Spaulding Complex
7:00 p.m: Portmore United vs Harbour View - Ferdie Neita Park
7:00 p.m: Waterhouse vs Sporting Central - Drewsland
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Humble Lion 5 4 0 1 7 2 5 12
MoBay United 5 3 1 1 8 3 5 10
Tivoli 5 2 3 0 5 3 2 9
August Town 5 1 4 0 4 3 1 7
Waterhouse 5 2 1 2 4 3 1 7
Cavalier 5 2 1 2 3 4 -1 7
H View 5 2 1 2 4 5 -1 7
Sporting 5 2 0 3 5 7 -2 6
Arnett 5 1 2 2 7 6 1 5
Boys' Town 5 1 2 2 5 7 -2 5
Rivoli 5 1 2 2 2 5 -3 5
Portmore 5 0 1 4 1 7 -6 1