Harbour View on a mission
Coach Bernard: We take inspiration from the Arnett Gardens team years ago and, more recently, what Portmore did in winning in consecutive years
Defending Jamaica Premier League (JPL) champions Harbour View go into their quarter-final first leg against Humble Lion at Sabina Park today inspired by the Portmore team of 2017-18 and 2018-19, and the Arnett Gardens team of 2000-01 and 2001-02 that claimed back-to-back league titles. The feat was also achieved by Reno in 1989-90 and 1990-91. Kick-off time is 7:30 p.m.
Coach Ludlow Bernard noted that his team is deeply motivated to retain their crown, and that Humble Lion are merely standing in their way.
“In training, we have demonstrated attitude, a fierce competitiveness, and a willingness to go out and defend the title.
“We take inspiration from the Arnett Gardens team years ago, and even more recently, what Portmore did in winning in consecutive years.
“So that is our motivation, and Humble Lion happens to be in the way. We just have to prepare ourselves for that challenge when it comes,” he said.
Harbour View battled to a 2-2 draw with Portmore in a Lynk Cup first-leg, semi-final match on Friday, and although his team has to play two games in four days, Bernard thinks they have a deep enough squad to manage.
Nevertheless, he expects Humble Lion to be extra motivated for the contest.
“We defeated them twice this season. They were the team we ousted last season to get into the quarter-finals, so there is a lot of motivation on their end. The challenge on my end is to supersede what they have to offer,” he added.
Humble Lion lost both games in the preliminary round 1-0 to their opponents, but their defence and experience have been the key to the Clarendon club’s season, and coach Andrew Price said they will continue to rely on those factors.
“We pride ourselves on our defensive ability. What we have to work on is getting the ball in the back of the net.
“To play 26 games and only concede 15 goals shows there is an intent to be defensively sound. What we want to do now is put the ball in the net,” said Price.
He added also that the mix of youth and experience has been good. “We have players who have won the Premier League with other clubs and it is good to have that experience. They know what it takes to get over the line, and they are trying to inspire the younger players. Once we can play the way we are capable of playing, we can put in a good shift.”
Meanwhile, the opening game between Mount Pleasant and Dunbeholden at 5 p.m. will be an interesting one, as some key players who helped Dunbeholden to the final last season have moved to the St Ann-based club.
Although both assistant coaches believe it will not be a factor, they anticipate that the fixture will be extremely competitive nonetheless.
“We know it is not going to be easy. This is a quarter-final and we know what their competences are, and we are prepared and ready.
“Once we can match them and keep our shape, I believe we will be in for something good,” said Dunbeholden’s Jermaine Thomas.
His counterpart, Warren Barrett of Mount Pleasant, pointed out that there are six quality teams left, all aiming to win the title.
“We have to come out and execute on the day. I am expecting a very high-quality game,” Barrett said.