Shaniel Thomas begins to deliver on promise
CAVALIER COACH Rudolph Speid was left singing the praises of striker Shaniel Thomas, who bagged a hat-trick in the club’s 3-0 win over Moca FC of the Dominican Republic, in their Group A Concacaf Caribbean Cup match at Sabina Park on Tuesday.
Thomas netted in the 24th, 43rd and 58th and, after his match-winning display, the Cavalier trainer said the 21-year-old was finally coming of age.
According to Speid, the former Jamaica College star is a multifaceted attacker and his many qualities were all on show Tuesday night.
“Shaniel Thomas, what can I say? He’s a consummate professional. He is never late for training, never absent. He has worked so hard, and I think that has come to fruition as he is one of the best players we have in Jamaica. He is so smart, and no praise is too high for him,” he said.
Thomas has been playing at the premier-league level with the club since 2018, and was one of the club’s top scorers in their 2021 league triumph.
His last two seasons have been injury-plagued. However, since the latter stages of last season, his form has been gradually improving, and Speid said there is a lot more to come from the player this season.
“I expect him to continue with nothing less. It took a while in coming but he has arrived and he is going to torment a lot of teams this year,” he said.
Thomas, who has the distinction of winning every single ISSA schoolboy football title, said the first goal was a great boost on the night and that he is looking to maintain his form and consistency throughout the competition and into the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season.
“My performance in this competition is my best in a long while. I have contributed in all the goals for my team and I am very elated about that. This is my first career hat-trick and it is the greatest feeling of all,” he said.
“We are very confident (of winning the championship). We want to win the final and we are actually going for it. The consistency from me has been great. I hope it continues. I am just going to continue working hard and hope it carries through the entire season.”
The win put Cavalier atop the group with seven points and, although Speid said they are not out of the woods, he believes they made a very serious statement on Tuesday.
“We are on top of the group but we still have one game. So it depends on what happens in the other games. But this was a strong statement. Three unanswered goals to stay top of the group. Now everybody has to play catch-up.”