Speid satisfied with Cavalier’s JPL form despite depth issues
Cavalier FC technical director Rudolph Speid says his team deserves more credit for ending the first round of the Wray & Nephew Jamaica Premier League just a point off the top of the table.
Last season’s runners-up started the league late due to their participation in the Concacaf Caribbean Cup where they lost in the final to Suriname’s Robinhood.
Cavalier only had three wins in their first eight games while failing to keep a clean sheet. However, they would surge from the bottom half of the table by going on a five-game winning streak and shutting out their opponents in four of those matches. The club was also boosted by the return of senior national players Dwayne Atkinson and Richard King from their six-month stint in Iceland.
Cavalier is now third on 27 points and just one point behind leaders Mount Pleasant. Speid says the turnaround is due to the strengthening of their squad over the last few weeks.
“At the start of the season, we had a poorer squad,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “Sometimes you saw us field 18 players and sometimes two players can’t go on the pitch. Even when we were playing the Caribbean Cup, we had to be doing that. I didn’t have the services of the youth players who were at school in the DaCosta Cup and Manning Cup, so we were struggling for personnel and it was one set of players playing.
“We did the best we could and tried to stick around and as soon as players started to return, we started to pick up wins and that put us in the position we’re in now. The Humble Lion game [last Wednesday] is the first time I could ever field 20 players in our squad, so we’re moving in the right direction. There’s a couple more players coming back to bolster the squad so I’ll be able to rotate more, so I’m banking on that.”
Hydel’s Michael Forbes, Keyanni Jackson, and Ronaldo Barrett, as well as St George’s College’s Adrian Reid, and St Andrew Technical High School’s Alexavier Gooden are among the players eligible for Cavalier for the remainder of the season after the completion of the ISSA schoolboy competitions.
However, Cavalier will once again have to contend with another regional competition while vying for the league title as they will take on Major League Soccer Club FC Cincinnati in round one of the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. They may also lose some of their players during the Concacaf Under-20 Championship from February 23 to March 2.
Speid is slightly concerned that they may not be at full strength but he’s confident they can overcome any situation.
“It is possible that I’ll be losing some players in the near future because there is always interest on our players,” he said. “So, we might go into another struggling period if we lose some quality players. But we’re not perturbed, Cavalier is one of those teams that keep on fighting and fighting ’til the end so what I’ll have to do is build back the team. But it’s a common process for me, I’ve lost Colin [Anderson], [Ronaldo] Webster, [Richard] King, and ‘Busy’ [Dwayne Atkinson]. I keep on losing players every year but we just have to build again.”
Cavalier return to action on Wednesday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex when they take on Harbour View FC at 4:30 pm.