... Coach says Kelly still one of Ja’s best
TOLL GATE, Clarendon — Coach Nigel Stewart has urged his Sporting Central Academy (SAC) players not to get carried away with their impressive start to the Red Stripe Premier League season.
Sporting are one of three teams, the others being Arnett Gardens and promoted Savannah FC, with a 100 per cent record after two games, having recorded victories over Humble Lion and Highgate United.
Last season, the Clarendon side had a similar start but eventually missed out on a place in the End-of-Round Final after losing three points in the boardroom. This time, Stewart wants to avoid any unnecessary mistakes.
"It's very important for us to stay focused because our plan is to go to the End-of-Round Final, so we have to keep our feet on the ground and continue playing good football," Stewart told the Jamaica Observer.
Sporting have so far averaged two goals per game, while conceding once, to join Arnett atop the goalscoring chart, and Stewart hopes to at least maintain that form when they take on Boys' Town today at Collie Smith Drive.
"As a coach, you have to feel good whenever your team is not only winning, but also scoring more than one goal. But there are some things that I'm not pleased," he said.
"I would see them keeping the ball more, make less unforced errors and play the Sporting Central type of football. (Against Highgate) I think we were overconfident at the back, and as defenders you can't be too relaxed," he said.
Sporting's early-season form also represents a personal milestone for Stewart, who was recently promoted from the Under-21 set-up to assume first-team duties.
"I'm working with a talented group of guys, which makes my job easier, so it's a real pleasure," he said.
Stewart also had lots of praises for midfielder Keith Kelly, who has been the club's best player so far.
The former Paris Saint-Germain prodigy who has struggled with injuries and weight problems over the years is yet to complete a full 90 minutes but has turned in a series of eye-catching performances -- capped by the fastest goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Humble Lion
"He's not 100 per cent fit," Stewart revealed, "so we are taking our time because the season is very long and we want him with us for a very long time.
"I still believe he's one of the best midfielders in Jamaica in terms of vision and passing... it's just to get him back to peak condition. The first game he played 63 minutes and the second he played 75, so he's getting there."