'It will be a challenge, but...'

'It will be a challenge, but...'

New coach Andrew Peart assesses UWI's chances in RSPL

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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They have a new head coach heading into their fourth season of top-flight football, but the bar remains fairly high for University of the West Indies (UWI) FC.

Under the guidance of former Head Coach Marcel Gayle, UWI finished fifth in the 2015-16 campaign — which was their first taste of premier league action.

The following season they were even better, dominating a host of traditional teams before being eliminated at the semi-final stage of the play-offs.

Last season, they were also competitive, but finished seventh in the 12-team league, just outside of a top-six play-off spot.

UWI open their 2018-19 campaign against former champions Harbour View FC at the Mona Bowl campus in St Andrew on Sunday, and Peart is hoping for a convincing start.

“We expect the team to be competitive — last year we found a league that was very close in quality… it's the same thing we expect this year. We just hope that at the end we perform much better than we did last year,” said former Assistant Coach Andrew Peart, who has been given the reins in the wake of Gayle's departure.

He credited his predecessor for laying the platform for success over the last three years, and is predicting more of the same.

“It will be a new challenge to what I've experienced before. Marcel did a fantastic job in terms of getting the team promoted and even making the team into challengers. The same is expected because we're looking to create a much younger team, a team that will challenge,” Peart told the Jamaica Observer.

No longer able to fly below the radar after exceeding the expectations of many watchers during their three previous campaigns, the new UWI coach accepted this season could prove their hardest test.

“It will be a challenge, but I think the team will be capable of managing. Our goal is to make it to the top-six.

“People look at us as a team that can compete and challenge, but we'll have to play each game with confidence knowing that we are in it to win that game,” he explained.

He noted that they remain a formidable team after retaining the likes of Ryan Miller, Fabion McCarthy and national senior team goalkeeper Amal Knight.

Miller was a regular goalscorer last season, while McCarthy proved a valuable asset after joining from Montego Bay United last season.

Knight was named RSPL goalkeeper of the year during their surge to the semi-finals two seasons ago.

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