Portmore, Boys' Town clash in Champions' Cup feature
After a five-year hiatus, Jamaican clubs will make a return to Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Champions' Cup when Portmore United and Boys' Town clash in their Group Two feature encounter at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex slated for 8:00 pm today.
In the curtain-raiser at 6:00 pm, Bayamon FC of Puerto Rica and Haiti's Valencia FC meet in the first match of the four-team group.
The 15th edition of CFU Club Champions' Cup also serves as a qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League and three teams from two CFU groups will advance.
The other group will be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago and will be contested by W Connection, SV Inter Moengotapoe (Suriname), Baltimore (Haiti) and Antigua Barracuda (Antigua) after defending champion Caledonia AIA (T&T) withdrew for financial reasons.
The winner of each group will advance to the CONCACAF round with the runners-up entering into a play-off for the third CFU spot.
The last time a Jamaican team participated in the Caribbean Champions Cup was in 2007, and Harbour View actually won the tournament and from there on, the Jamaican clubs thought it was not financially feasible to participate.
Chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) Edward Seaga had constantly advocated for the tournament to be hosted in two countries to reduce the expenses of travelling all over the Caribbean in a tournament without a prize money at the Caribbean stage.
Finally that concept has been accepted, and hence the return of the Jamaican clubs. The two most powerful Caribbean territories, Jamaica and T&T, are hosting the CFU Champions' Cup over the next six days.
All the games in Jamaica will be played at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, and last season's top-two teams, Portmore United and Boys' Town, will carry the Jamaican flag in a tournament Jamaican clubs have won only three times. Harbour View have won it twice, in 2004 and 2007, while Portmore United were victorious in 2005.
Portmore and Boys' Town finished first and second, respectively, in last year's Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) and qualified to represent Jamaica in the competition.
Both Portmore United and Boys' Town are entering the competition on the back of some poor form. Both teams have not won in their last three games, and although not much is known of their opponents, they are expected to give a good account of themselves.
However, they are set to face each other in their opening encounter in what should be an exciting game as both hunt crucial points in the four-team group of which two will advance.
On Sunday, Portmore will play against Valencia at 6:00 pm to be followed by Boys' Town versus Bayamon at 8:00 pm. The group stage will be completed next Tuesday when Portmore tackle Bayamon at 6:00 pm and Boys' Town against Valencia at 8:00 pm.