Sunday 21 January, 2018

Premier League Hits & Misses - Volume 1

Ramon Manning

Ramon Manning

With the 2018 Premier League season two months away, football followers are eagerly anticipating the March kick off, which will see 12 teams compete in two zones for top-flight supremacy.

Fans and the club officials will however, share a similar excitement to see what the recent and new inclusions have to offer their respective teams as a number of players have traded “homes” over the transfer period.

Some of the moves were logical and beneficial moves for both club and player, while some were senseless and lacked real purpose for either party.

Here’s a look at the “Hits and Misses” of Barbados football market.

Paradise FC

Hits

The Dover boys have made an important step towards improving their fourth place league finish last season by acquiring three players from the University of the West Indies (UWI), who can fill some voids which were present in 2017.

Amal Mayers makes a return to his boyhood club and will be an important cog in the Paradise wheel, with his energy, tenacity and leadership skills.  His arrival is quite timely as midfield enforcer, Stefan Bowen returns to his home club Bagatelle FC.

Mayers arrives with Ramon Manning and Dario “Ears” Harewood who will assume the left back and center forward positions at their new clubs.

Paradise coach Kenville “Kab” Layne will welcome the naturally gifted left-footed Manning in a position which he tried a number of options but never gave the ideal performance or at least consistently enough.

Harewood’s arrival is also quite timely as Paradise’s leading marksman, Armando Lashley is injured and maybe doubtful for the inaugural Premier League Preseason Cup.

Harewood has been one of the most prolific goal scorers in the Premier League over the last three seasons, tallying over 30 goals in total.

Miss

Releasing young, tenacious and intelligent midfielder Juwon Walcott can prove to be a bad decision by the coaching staff of Paradise, especially as they continue their rebuilding project, particularly in the midfield.

Skipper, Barry Skeete is known to miss the occasional number of matches due to injury and other commitments, which result in midfield anchor, Mario Williams filling the center back position.

Walcott would have been a suitable replacement with his aggression and effective passing to plug that midfield position, along with the likes of Mayers, while not disturbing the pattern of the team.

Ellerton FC

Hits

The St George representatives, enter their second consecutive season in the Premiership.

After an impressive start and first half of last season, Ellerton FC went without a win in the second half for approximately seven games and the goals which flowed so heavily for them in the early period of the league, dried up when forward Shakille Belle departed for the Trinidad & Tobago Pro League.

Goalkeeper Jamar Brewster’s injuries throughout the season were also a cause for concern as young custodian Kyle Brathwaite lacked the experience to effectively replace the ever dependable Brewster.

Ellerton has addressed these issues and registered new players ZInho Harris on a loan from Waterford Crompton and custodian Kerry Holder from Rendezvous FC.

Harris, known for his “dead ball” ability and precise, long distance shooting, should add some much needed support for Belle in the goal scoring department.

While, Holder, a former national goalkeeper grants Ellerton a rare option of having two quality goalkeepers at this level; his agility and expertise in one-on-one situations will allow a different dynamic to Brewster, and installment of different team tactics.

Miss

Mostly known for their production of outstanding youth who play a quick, exciting and entertaining brand of football, it therefore baffles me why Ellerton will sign the ageing legs of former Belfield player Jason Haynes.

It is difficult to see where he will feature as his position across the midfield is gainfully occupied by younger and proven models.

Maybe it was a case of finding any home, after the relegation of his former club last season.

Prodigal son Shad Parris returns but after such a lengthy period in the lower leagues, where he was not particularly dominant, the step up to the elite level maybe too much for the frontman.

In his earlier tenure with Ellerton in the Premiership, he was much younger and had the blessing of raw speed and fearlessness, two attributes which made him a terror to opponents.

But as age comes, speed goes, hence taking away one of his greatest attributes and subsequently contributions to the team.