Tivoli thirst for more Premier League glory

... Signal intention with 2-0 win over MBU in first game of season

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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It has been seven years since Tivoli Gardens last tasted victory in the Red Stripe Premier League.

But there is a growing feeling withing the camp that that this year the drought could end. And they have made a strong statement in that regerd by defeating Montego Bay United (MBU) away 2-0 in their season-opener on Sunday.

Head coach Omar Edwards told the Jamaica Observer that following their second- consecutive victory in the KSAFA Jackie Bell Knockout and their top six finish in the Red Stripe Premier League, Tivoli Gardens seems to have turned the corner.

“I believe winning back-to-back Jackie Bell is not what I would call a 'buck up', but because of the hard and quality work that have been put in. Therefore, that has led to some belief that it is possible to bring back the Premier League trophy to Tivoli Gardens in very short order,” said Edwards.

Tivoli Gardens last won the league in 2011, which was their fifth title following triumphs in 1983, 1999, 2004 and 2009. But of late, the orange-and-black-clad West Kingston outfit has been languishing in fifth and sixth positions.

“Last season we have managed to make it to the play-offs back-to-back, and since my tenure here we have managed to win back-to-back Jackie Bell trophy, so this team understands the importance of winning and how to win,” Edwards, a former assistant National Under-20 coach, pointed out.

“It is our intention this season to go all the way. I know all the teams are going to say it's their intention to go all the way, but we are mindful that we need to put in the quality work-and it will elevate us to go all the way,” he noted.

Although they lost long-time team manager and organiser Brian Rose, who has taken a sabbatical from the sport, Tivoli Gardens FC remains a well-tuned organisation under long-serving club president Edward Seaga.

They have lost their captain and rock at the back Romaine Breakenridge and the talented Elton Thompson, but coach Edwards is of the view that they are indeed stronger.

“We lost Elton Thompson and Romaine Breakenridge, but we got what I would call equally good replacements that can improve the team,” said Edwards.

Tivoli Gardens have brought back Kemar Seivwright and Raymond Williamson from Molynes United; Michael Spence from Cavalier, and Newton Sterling from Arnett Gardens.

Mitchily Waul makes a return from Liguanea United, Hugh Evans and Andre Dawson have made the switch from Harbour View and Boys' Town, respectively, while Ezren Simpson was transferred from Maverly Hughenden.

Former national player Jermaine Johnson will play another season, but fans will have to wait a bit because he recently did a surgery in the USA and will be out for three to four weeks.

Even though they had to train away from home, Edwards was satisfied with how the preseason phase went on a whole.

“So far the preparation has been fairly good. Our home field is under repair and, based on my understanding, it will be ready within another two to three weeks. Therefore, we had to divert to the Tivoli Gardens High School football field and I must say a big thanks to them for allowing us to train on their field,” said Edwards.

“The expectation for the season is always going to be high for Tivoli Gardens. It is the staff intention to improve the players attitude, therefore we can fortunately improve their game, and it would give us a better opportunity to finish above what we finish last season,” he ended.

— Howard Walker

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