Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Harbour View Football Club's Harold Thomas walked away with the first China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Star Coach of the Round award and $75,000 - for the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) - during the presentation ceremony at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) offices in New Kingston yesterday.
The new award is in addition to the CHEC Star Baller of the Month, which started last season. Francois Swaby of Sporting Central was selected as winner for November. He received a plaque and $30,000.
In July, CHEC showed their commitment to the RSPL by donating $23 million to the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) to assist to cover certain basic costs. The company then decided that by offering rewards for special achievements, such as Star Coach of the Round and Star Baller of the Month, it would benefit the sport overall as individuals would increase their effort.
"China Harbour is convinced that by sponsoring the league opportunities arise for players who dedicate themselves to the sport, while offering healthy entertainment for spectators and add to the welfare of others through these awards," Jennifer Armond, CHEC communications manager, said at the presentation ceremony.
In response, Carvel Stewart, deputy chairman of the PLCA, administrators of the RSPL, commended China Harbour on the latest initiative.
"After the introduction of the CHEC Star Baller of the Month award in October 2012, China Harbour is now seeing it fit to award the top coach of the round. Again, I congratulate China Harbour and express gratitude to them in continuing to recognise the league," noted Stewart, who apologised for the absence of PLCA Chairman Edward Seaga.
Thomas outlined the importance of the sport.
"Football is more than just a game. It is a critical area of development for the country," Thomas said. "However, we need continued support. This award is as a result of team effort at Harbour View."
The 25-year-old Swaby, captain of Sporting Central, thanked his teammates.
"It is a great feeling to have won this award as I have worked hard all season. I must also say thanks to my teammates and the Sporting Central family for making it possible.
"China Harbour must also be commended for recognising talent in the Premier League," Swaby added.