Austin, the rock in defence for Portmore
“This year I shouldn’t even be here but at the last minute they sold a player to Dunbeholden and the coach said he needed me”
Former Reggae Boyz captain and Portmore United defender Rodolph Austin said helping the club to win their eighth premier league title would be a satisfying way to end the season and hang up his boots. Before the start of the campaign, Austin had no...
Former Reggae Boyz captain and Portmore United defender Rodolph Austin said helping the club to win their eighth premier league title would be a satisfying way to end the season and hang up his boots.
Before the start of the campaign, Austin had no intention, at age 37, of playing top-flight football for another season.
However, when Chevon Stewart opted to leave for Dunbeholden just prior to the start of the season, he was convinced by the Portmore United coaching staff to carry on a bit longer.
The player, who represented clubs such as Bronby in Denmark and Leeds in England, said his role is to help facilitate the rebuilding of the team, although he admitted that it has been a challenge.
“We are still rebuilding, and even though we have some excellent and skilful players, we all have to work without the ball.
“My role is to to teach the players (some of what I have learnt) but sometimes it’s hard to get it across to them. But being at the back (in defence) has helped. It can be challenging at times because sometimes you can see the bigger picture which they don’t. And it’s hard to sell an unknown future to some young players.
“But when you are winning they believe. We are in good form and I hope they see that and we can something out of the season,” he said.
The veteran player has been the rock at the back for Portmore, who have the joint best defensive record in the league along with Humble Lion with 13 goals conceded.
He pointed out that at the start they drew a lot of games, despite their outstanding display at the back.
However, the addition of national players Alex Marshall and Lamar Walker midway the season has been a massive boost to the attack.
“They are two good additions. Every time you see Alex playing it’s just pure quality. When you have players like that it can give you some breathing space because teams respect you more.
It’s great to have them. We started out drawing a lot of games, but now we have people scoring the goals. So it has been good.
“We have put a run together since they joined, but we have to take it one game at a time and don’t get carried away. Keep everyone grounded,” he reasoned.
Portmore are now the in-form team in the league, with five wins and no defeats in their last seven matches and Austin, who has won two titles with the club in the past, revealed that all the players now believe they can go all the way.
“It would be an excellent achievement for Portmore on a whole. The club has gone through a transition the last few seasons and to be in this position is very good. We just have to keep this form going and keep everyone believing.”
Although he is currently doing coaching badges and is looking to transition to the sidelines next season, Austin admitted he is really enjoying his game now.
“This year I shouldn’t even be here but at the last minute they sold a player to Dunbeholden and the coach said he needed me. I played the Arnett Gardens game and did well and he said nothing else, so I just continued,” he said.
However, one of the most pleasing aspects of playing for Portmore this season is having his nephew, Gawain Austin, alongside him in defence.
He noted that Gawain was inactive for over a year and to see him improve so rapidly has been satisfying.
“Its good to play with him. He now has the opportunity so he has to make the best of it. I hope he takes it seriously and see where he can reach because he has me as an example to know what he can get from football,” Austin said.