Methodology the key to Portmore's continuous success, says Thomas

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Sunday, April 21, 2019

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SHAVAR Thomas breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of the final whistle which signaled that his team, Portmore United, would be returning to the finals of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).

Despite being in control with a 1-0 lead on the night in the second semi-final and a 3-1 aggregate lead over Mount Pleasant FA, it turned out to be a nervy finish in the end for the champions with the final score on the night being 1-1 and the aggregate score 3-2.

Thomas says he knew that discipline would get them over the line when things got tight at the end.

“When they got level, I was thinking that we just need to be a little bit more disciplined, put at little bit more effort in what we were doing and we could see this game through.”

He admitted that it has been a massive challenge to return to the finals of the RSPL yet again.

“To get back here was a major challenge because from the beginning of the season all these teams in the RSPL, and we did expect an easy road, but they came out and they gave us some challenge. Credit to the team, they stuck to it throughout the season, they took it game by game and now we are here again.”

Javon East scored in both legs of the semi-finals and is once again the leading scorer for the team, despite an ordinary start to the season. He does, however, have the backing of his coach who believes that the striker is close to being the best that he can be.

“Strikers go through their ups and downs. I would think in terms of his scoring rate he had a slow rise this season as opposed to last year when from the get go he was our go to man.

“We know what Javon can do and he has grown in terms of his awareness and the only thing I think he can add to his game is to keep practicing and just be a little more clinical in front of the goal and then we can say he is gonna be a world-class striker.”

Portmore's consistency over the last four years has not gone unnoticed, and for Thomas the answer to the question of how they have been able to do it, was quite simple.

“That just simply boils down to our programme, our methodology and we have a tremendous staff coaching at all levels. From grass roots come straight up and also I think the number one thing is where the other clubs in Jamaica fall off.

“If you look at Portmore United as opposed to, I would say, an Arnett Gardens, a Tivoli Gardens and you pick four or five players from the Portmore team as opposed to those teams and you say how long have you been in Portmore? What level have you played? We have the consistency and the transition, they will tell you they played, under-14, under-16 under-20 for Portmore and now they are in the premier league.

“So that is the success where Harbour View had it at one point, Tivoli had it at one point, Arnett Gardens as well, so that's why you see the success, it has to be a transition coming through,” he explained.

Portmore will come face to face with Waterhouse in the final just as they did last season, when they won on penalty kicks. Another close encounter is anticipated by the head coach.

“It's a different team, a different coach, but I think they still play the same style. It will be a challenge because it's a solid squad.

“They have experience, they have guys who have been in this situation before, so by no means are we going to take them lightly as well as we haven't beaten them all season, all three games were tied so it's something to look forward to.”

The Red Stripe Premier League final will be played on Monday, April 29 starting at 8:35 pm.


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