These are difficult times!
Former Waterhouse FC Captain Keithy Simpson, (right) presents a signedfootball to managing director of Tankweld Metals Bruce Bicknel. Tankweldis one of the main sponsors of Waterhouse and has maintained its financialsupport to the club despite one year without football. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)
President White paints grim picture of COVID's impact on Waterhouse; salutes loyal sponsors

Waterhouse FC, like the 11 other clubs that make up the Jamaica Premier League, has been struggling to maintain normal functions as they cling to hope that the competition will get the green light for a kick-off.

With the two dates set for the 2020 resumption missed and no actual start date in 2021 put forward, things have been left in limbo. This has led to major difficulties for clubs and players alike as they try to remain focused and committed to the idea of a shortened season this year.

Donovan White, the president of Waterhouse, explained that it has been incredibly difficult for both players and administrators at the Drewsland-based club over the past few months.

“We are trying to do as best as we can under the circumstances without being able to gather as a team. The technical team has been doing a lot of work with the players in a virtual space, as well as in some individual spaces with their personal trainers, trying to get them fit, get them in shape, keep them in shape.

“A footballer plays on a team of 11 on the field and a squad of 26-27 players. It's hard to prepare by yourself because you are used to sharing a football and so when you don't have the ability to get on the pitch and share that ball around and play as a team and build the chemistry and build camaraderie and strengthen the unit, that becomes a huge deficit to close in a short space of time, so we are trying to make the best of it,” said White.

He explained that even though the situation has been challenging, all the individuals involved are understanding of the particular difficulties and are doing their best to cope.

“The players understand, the coaches understand, that we are in a very difficult time as a nation, as well as a sport, and we have to make the adjustments that are required to meet protocols and to continue to stay safe and to protect lives, as we protect livelihoods,” said the man who also holds the portfolio as director of tourism.

White described the current financial situation as “difficult” while lauding the faithful sponsors who have stood by the club during the crisis.

“Difficult. There is no other word to describe it. We have had the good fortune to still have some support from a few of our longstanding sponsors, namely Dairy Industries, through their brand product Tastee Cheese, and Tankweld Metals, who continue to support us, as well as our advertisers who keep their advertising alive and in contract at the Waterhouse football stadium. We still have some support that comes in from that on a monthly basis,” White noted.

He said that financial support from the sponsors has enabled the club to make headway in a time when gate receipts and other sources of income are non-existent.

“That basically has kept us alive and has kept us in a position where we can continue to, at the very least, provide some kind of stipend to our players, our coaches, our staff. We have been extremely fortunate in that regard.

“They have been extremely understanding of the situation, as well, and it is important to say that because it's difficult for everyone and the club is having a difficult time, but the players and the staff [are] having an even worse time of it, because these individuals have responsibilities, they have families, they have duties that they are responsible for financially on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis,” he explained.

Waterhouse FC is one of the clubs that enjoys a huge fan base and normally has a full stadium at each of its home games, in the best of times.

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS Observer writer

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