COACH OF THE YEAR Montego Bay United Football Club captured the most awards at the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ)/Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) presentation ceremony on Thursday night at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. Chairman of the PFAJ Don Anderson described the season as one of the most interesting. “It has been one of the most intriguing coming to an end. MBU has been most consistent in three years by competing in the last three finals and winning two times,” Anderson said. “I salute MBU. However, Portmore’s Michael Binns scored a goal in the final that was worthy of a World Cup final,” he shared. He admitted that there were challenges along the way. “Personally, throughout my 37 years in administration, my firm belief is that off the field issues must be dealt with around the table. Football needs us all, so let us work together,” he also added. The 2015-16 champions collected the coveted title and winning cash incentive of $2.5 million, plus 35 medals, while beaten finalists Portmore United walked away with $1.5 million and 25 silver medals. Last season’s champions, Arnett Gardens, finished third and were rewarded $1 million and medals, while Humble Lion received $500,000 for their fourth-place finish in the 12-team league. MBU were the best defensive and top-scoring team. Their striker, Owayne Gordon, received four individual awards. Gordon, who missed the final last Sunday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, received Round Three top striker for scoring 10 goals, the leading goalscorer with 20 goals, the Most Valuable Player and the Tony Burrowes Player Personality Award. MBU’s Jacomena Barrett won the goalkeeper of the year award for the third consecutive season, while former national player Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis won the Winning Coach award, and Dwayne Ambusley won the Winning Captain award. Marcel Gayle of first-time team in the Premier League the University of the West Indies FC, won the Coach of the Year award. Portmore United won the regular season award for the team that finished on most points and were also the team with the most wins. Junior Flemmings, who is on loan from Tivoli Gardens to MLS club New York Red Bull, was the Junior Player of the Year. MBU’s Dino Williams was the Round One top goal scorer with six goals, while Cory Burke, who started the season at Rivoli United before transferring to MoBay, scored the most goals (six) in Round Two. Boys’ Town FC won the FIFA Fair Play award, while the top referee was Valdin Ledgister and top assistant referee was Richard Washington. The RSPL best XI players were: Damian Hyatt (Arnett Gardens), Ladale Ritchie (MBU), Oneil Thompson (Arnett), Khareem Manning (Portmore United), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View), Ricardo Morris (Portmore), Andrew Vanzie (Humble Lion), Renae Lloyd (Arnett), Owayne Gordon (MBU), and Dino Williams (MBU).
Promising British sprinter Zharnel Hughes has signed with the American sports agency Doyle Management Group, as he looks to regain success shown as a junior athlete.In 2015, at just 19 years old, Hughes challenged and nearly beat Usain Bolt at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York. He then went on to win a pair of 200m races at Diamond League meets in Lausanne, Switzerland, and on home soil in London before finishing fifth at the World Championships in Beijing.Hughes found himself injured for 2016 season, but is recovering nicely and can’t wait to take on 2017 stronger than ever.”I’m excited to attack the 2017 season with a vengeance. I had a tough year with injuries in 2016, but I’m healthy again and I’m learning about my body. I’m doing a better job of taking care of myself on and off the track and I am very focused. I am still very young and I know there’s a lot of time ahead for me in this sport, but I am hungry! I had a taste of success in 2015 and I want to build on that this year and put myself on the map at the top of the sport. To win a medal in London in front of the home crowd is what I am working towards, and I am confident I can succeed,” said Hughes yesterday.Paul Doyle, CEO of Doyle Management Group, spoke very highly of his newest client.DESTINED FOR GREATNESS”Every once in a while, a very special athlete emerges and you just know they are destined for greatness. That is certainly the case with Zharnel. I’ve watched countless race videos of Zharnel and he just has a way about him. His stride are effortless. His strength and power is something rarely seen, especially in a 19-year-old kid. In a few years’ time, we could be regarding Zharnel as the greatest sprinter in British history. He has the talent, he has the determination, and he has the maturity and mentality to be successful. I honestly think he could be one of the best sprinters of all time, when all is said and done,” said Doyle.The 6’3″ Anguilla-born athlete will open his competition season race this Saturday at the Camperdown Classic in Kingston, Jamaica, where he will contest the longer sprint of 400m. Twice the distance of his bread-and-butter event, the 200m.”I’m looking forward to getting back on the track and competing again. The 400m race will be a good indicator of my fitness and the progress I have made in training. Consider me one to watch,” said Hughes.