Vere United in historic quarter-final qualificationFriday, September 17, 2021
Despite losing their final game of the regular season campaign, Vere United are into the quarter-final round of the Jamaica Premier League, beating out the more fancied teams like outgoing champions Portmore United and the heavy hitters from their parish of Clarendon, Humble Lions FC.
It is a historic moment for the club to be reaching the play-offs in the competition for the very first time.
Having first played in the league as Jamalco FC a few years ago and being eliminated after just one season, the club returned as Vere United last season, and had it not been for the cancellation of the 2019-2020 season, would have been back playing parish football.
But, with the experienced Donovan Duckie at the helm, a revamped team of players, willing to fight for each other, have emerged into a unit now vying for the title.
It was on the cards for Vere to advance straight to the semi-finals, but a 1-0 loss to Cavalier will see them engage in two quarter-final round games, which Duckie is looking at philosophically.
“It could be the right result, I'm not sure, we will have to wait and see. Had we drawn the game we would be playing Cavalier, again, in the quarter-finals.
“Looking at the strength and weakness of the other teams, the suggestion is it could be the right result for us, in terms of who we play next…but we will have to wait and see,” he said.
Looking back at the game itself, Duckie was pleased with what he saw from his players, despite the result.
“In terms of the game, I thought we did exceptionally well. We were very organised. We stopped their build-up play, and sometimes we allowed them to play out of the back with a compact block,” said Duckie.
With a number of players just now returning from injuries, Duckie is hoping that they will be ready for the play-offs, even as they enjoy what has already been a very good season for them.
“We were not at our full strength. We lost four to five starters against Mount Pleasant, they are on the injury list, so today three were just returning so we gave them 20 minutes play.
“Hopefully, we will return to full strength for the first game of the quarter-finals, but there are a lot of positives we can take from this game. We are happy to play and we are enjoying our season,” Duckie noted.
The magnitude of the achievement was not lost on Duckie, who thanked all those who had played a part in Vere reaching the final six for the very first time.
“We are at the quarter-final stage and we have to say kudos to the Vere United family, the supporters, everyone that has worked assiduously for us to achieve this feat, it is history for the club.”
The former national coach is an ambitious man, and will not allow his players to settle for just making the play-offs, declaring that he wants to go all the way.
“We are in it to win it at this point,” he boldly declared.
However, in order to get a chance to play in the showpiece final, Vere must first overcome former champions Tivoli Gardens in a two-legged quarter-final play-off, starting th
— Dwayne Richards