Sports

Portmore ready to go all the way, vows coach Thomas

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Saturday, March 23, 2019

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Defending Red Stripe Premier League champions Portmore United have just wrapped up back-to-back regular season titles, but the job is not done.

In the two years that Shavar Thomas has been head coach of the team he has managed to win the regular season crown and having gone all the way last season. The 38 year old has not lost his appetite and wants more.

Despite being “a young coach” in the league, Thomas has managed to keep his team at the top of the table with regularity, and points to consistency as the key to all that has taken place at the St Catherine-based club.

He says that his team will be ready for whatever is thrown at them in the play-offs.

“Everybody is coming for what we have. We are at the top of the totem pole but we will be ready for any challenges, and I am very confident in what these guys have been showing from the beginning of the season up until now. Consistency is our key and we have confidence in our preparation,” he boldly declared.

Despite a quarter-final bye and a place directly into the semi-finals as reward for finishing top of the pile, Portmore will not remain inactive as they have parish football to keep them occupied.

“We have St Catherine knockout to play, the Happy Sutherland, so we will be in competition. We will use that as a session to look at what we will want to do in the back-end of the season.

“Now is just to keep them fresh, keep them focused, and pay attention to details, and make sure everybody is ready,” Thomas explained.

On Wednesday the repeat champions concluded the regular season with a routine 2-0 victory over rookie Dunbeholden FC, and the Portmore head coach was pleased with the focus shown by the players.

“I must give credit to them because we kept a clean sheet, that's one, and we got the victory. But it's kinda hard to play these games, especially when you are already top of the league — but this is where your professionalism should kick in.

“This is what we have been beating in their heads from the last five-six games — that we have to maintain our professionalism, our concentration, our focus, we have to play and show our quality,” said Thomas.

On a personal level, what Thomas has achieved as a coach in the league is unprecedented. Last year when he took over as head coach it was his first stint at the Premier League level, and he has repeated the feat while maintaining the top spot for virtually the entire season.

The former Reggae Boy ranks this achievement as highly as anything else he has achieved in the sport of football, but did not take sole credit for the success of Portmore United.

“It's up there with a lot of my achievements in terms of my playing career and it is just the beginning. I am truly humbled. You have a lot of people that put in a lot of work; it's not just me by myself, it's the support staff that I have here, so it's credit to them and the players,” he said.

Thomas and Portmore United are just two games away from claiming back-to-back RSPL titles, and there are few who would bet against them achieving that goal with the season they have just had.


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