Savannah eye elite spot in rookie season
SAVANNAH Sports Club, hailing from Truro district in Westmoreland, was formed in 2007. At the club's inception, their principal aim was to reach the highest level of competition in the country — the Premier League — in the shortest possible time.
As a result of their tenacity and industry, it took the club four years to realise its projected aim. Savannah SC took a much shorter time to achieve a set goal than it has taken most other aspiring clubs to get into the premiership.
Cavalier, the other club that was also promoted, took a rather unenterprising 17 years to return to the league. However, now that Savannah have been numbered among the elite clubs in Jamaican football, "the real test of the club's character and its resilience to persevere lies in our effectiveness to remain competitive in our first season", according to the club's assistant treasurer Everton Hasely.
Savannah have designated the Frome Sport Complex as their home ground. The playing surface, Hasely pointed out, is good and up to standard. It has been passed by the governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), with the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) ground earmarked as an alternative home ground.
Hasely said the club has had a more than satisfying rise to prominence from 2007 to last season when they made the giant leap forward into top-flight football.
"But it will take much more than just faith and good will. Financial support will have to be at the heart of our effort to remain competitive," he visualises.
"From the lack of this type of support many clubs in the past have perished. While we're doing our utmost to be ready for our first Premier League football season, financial support is a worrying factor," Hasely disclosed.
He is appealing to corporate Jamaica, especially entities from western Jamaica, to come on board and help the club face its challenges with "solid financial support".
"We first entered the Division One of the Westmoreland parish league and won it. We then moved on to the Major League and to the Super League where we ended up in the play-off and booked our passage to the Premier League.
"This team has shown enough enterprise and fruitful return in so short a time to warrant the type of support needed to continue the struggle for Westmoreland football, now that Reno has been relegated," Hasely rationalised.
Having recognised the demand for greater competitive play at the top level, Savannah FC set about acquiring more experienced talent from the Westmoreland area who had been playing at Montego United and Reno — who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
There has also been a change in coaches at Savannah, with former national player Patrick Graham, who also played at Reno and is a certified coach, taking over. Audley Thomas, last seaosn's successful head coach, will be Graham's assistant.
An expectant Hasely said that as a new team in the competition, "We do not expect to come to the league and just be present... we will be there to give a good account of ourselves and to maintain our place... and hopefully by the end of the season, end in a top four position."