Veteran predicts close Clarendon derby

BY OSHANE TOBIAS Observer writer

Sunday, October 02, 2011

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FORMER Humble Lion defender Delroy 'Rumba' Greene is expecting today's Clarendon derby against Sporting Central Academy to be an exciting affair, given both teams' positive start to the National Premier League (NPL).

The teams have picked up six points from a possible nine following two victories and one defeat in their respective three opening games.

They have also scored in all of their games and are comfortably in the top half of the 12-team standings — a feat which represents their best start to a premiership season.

"I think it's going to be a really good game," said Greene, who played right full-back for Humble Lion in the mid to late 1980s. "Both teams are enjoying a good run at the moment, so they are high on confidence.

"But based on current form, I think Sporting are playing better. They are moving the ball well, the new player who they have upfront from The Bahamas is playing good and he adds a new dimension to their game.

"Humble Lion might just be too defensive in their playing. They don't have that creativity in midfield to dictate the pace of the game or even outsmart their opponents, but because it's a derby you will see a keen battle," added Greene, who's also a former Garvey Maceo daCosta Cup player.

Of the eight premiership derbies contested by the two in the past two seasons, only two have ended in victories — a 3-0 win for Sporting in 2009 and a 2-1 triumph for Humble Lion last season.

Greene, who has had a number of coaching stints with United States high schools, reckons the derby has been dominated by draws because the teams tend to put extra emphasis on not losing.

"It could be because of the tension between the two teams," he posited. "None of them really wants to lose to each other, so they try not to make any mistake and that can lead to them being extra cautious."

Greene added: "In derbies like this where the players know each other so well there's also a special respect for each other. They know what a particular player can do, so they will know exactly who to mark, who to rush or who to stay away from."

He, however, thinks both sides will be going all-out for a victory this time around.

"I think both teams will come out for the win," he said, "not just because they are having a decent run at the moment, but because it's always about bragging rights for them. Humble Lion think they can beat Sporting on any given day and Sporting think the same."

Greene, who now operates a sport goods store — Samba Sports — in May Pen, believes both teams might have a problem contending with each other's playing style — moreso Sporting.

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