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'I am better prepared'

Hankinson begins second stint as MBU coach

Thursday, January 11, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - After his previous stint with two-time Red Stripe Premier League champions, Montego Bay United, American coach Tim Hankinson says he is better prepared for his second tour of duty that started earlier this week when he took over the reins of the Tucker, St James-based club.

The 62 -year-old American with over 35 years of experience on the sidelines, led MBU at the start of the 2015/16 season before taking over the Indy XI in the North American Soccer League (NASL). After his two-year contract expired in November, he was lured back to try and rescue what so far has been an underwhelming season for MBU.

Having been here for nearly five months in 2015, Hankinson, who arrived in the island on Monday afternoon and led his first practice session Tuesday morning, said his familiarity with the game here will be a big plus.

“Yes absolutely,” he told the Jamaica Observer West minutes after his arrival. “The first time here there was a learning curve for me. It took me time to understand how to get things done, the opponents, the playing conditions, the fields, the refereeing, the entire deal, but now I come in very focussed from the first day as to what we need to get done, I will hit the ground running.”

In his first stint, Hankinson who led the team in their first and only appearance in the CONCACAF Club competition after they placed third in the Caribbean Club Competition under Dr Dean Weatherly, set the platform for MBU's run to a second RSPL title in three years and built the club into one of the best in the local competition.

After the first round of the Red Stripe Premier League, MBU were sitting pretty at the top on 24 points from seven wins, three draws and a loss to Portmore United in their opening game and a 10- game unbeaten run.

Hankinson said he knew “very little about the present crop of players except what I can see on their website,” but said there were some he was familiar with and that would be a boost.

“Some of the players I had here [include] Owayne Gordon who came and played for me on loan at Indy XI and Dino Williams I know very well. I am familiar with and know what they are capable of doing and so I have to make sure they are playing in roles that suit their strengths and really in this week I need to get to know the new players and see how they can complement the older players.”

Among the players who were in the team two years ago are Dwayne Ambusley, Orlando McBayne, Winston Wilkinson, John Barrett, Keniel Kirlew, Jermaine Woozencroft, Ronaldo Rodney, Donovan Carey and Ladale Richie.

The vacancy for head coach was created after another American coach, Rod Underwood, handed in his resignation just before Christmas, and the management reached out to Hankinson, who was very popular with the players at MBU.

Hankinson said he had been keeping up to date with the club.

“I saw they were in a situation where maybe they needed some guidance and my job here is just simply to give them a helping hand and point them in the right direction,” he told the Observer West.

MBU have struggled all season and are presently in eighth place with 22 points after 20 games, scoring 16 goals and giving up 25, the latter two among the worst in the league.

“Sometimes players just need a new voice and obviously I have to get more familiar with the present roster, its different from when I was last here, some of the players are the same, but there have been changes, they are going to need more goal scoring and strong goalkeeping, and they are going to have to work very hard as a group collectively at both ends of the field to make up the points,” Hankinson said.

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