WITH just under three weeks to go before the start of 2023-2024 Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season, Jason Henzell, chairman of promoted side Treasure Beach FC, says they are not there to make up numbers.
Treasure Beach, who will be competing in the JPL for the first time in their history, will also be the first from St Elizabeth in over 40 years to participate in the country's premier football competition. The last team from the parish to have competed in the country's top club football competition was Santa United in 1980.
Treasure Beach, who are coached by Omar "Rambo" Wedderburn, will have Tony Davis as technical director, and Victor Ebanks as strength and conditioning trainer.
Henzell told the Jamaica Observer they have assembled a strong squad and solid management staff for this year's competition.
"We want to end the season being in the top ten," said Henzell. "We don't want to be number 11 or 12 — and we certainly definitely don't want to be 13 or 14 because those teams are going down [relegated]," he said.
"My mandate to Coach Rambo is to get us into the top ten because I gave him everything he wanted in terms of budgeting, transferring of players, hydration, and accommodation of players and so my job is to raise the money and make the players as comfortable as possible — and I have done that," the well known hotelier and businessman stated.
Henzell said the team has been in a training camp for the past two months, and the reaction he has received from people within the south St Elizabeth community has been positive.
He said the team will not only be ambassadors for themselves but for all of St Elizabeth.
"The team has been in camp from early August, living at the Treasure Beach Sports Park, and we have had good feedback from them integrating in the community and people accepting them in the community," he said.
"We have made it clear to them that they are ambassadors for, not only Treasure Beach but the entire parish. We have explained to them that it is a tremendous honour to have broken this 43-year drought of St Elizabeth not being in the Jamaica Premier League, and I have said to them that my ultimate goal is to not get relegated because we want to stay there for a very long time," the club chairman said.
He said he is very happy they were able to obtain funding to finance the team throughout the season.
"I am so happy to have closed up our sponsorship for the season because, I am not going to lie to you, I was worried for a few weeks as a lot of the sponsors are more inclined to go with the bigger-name clubs so I had to really make a case as to why we deserve these sponsorships," Henzell revealed.
"It took some convincing for them to put their logos on a first-time team and a team that is based in an agriculture belt and not having a tradition of having a premier league team from that parish," he explained further.
The 2023-24 JPL campaign, which will feature 14 teams, is scheduled to kick off on October 22.