Tue | May 28, 2024

Racing in Premier League shape

Published:Saturday | April 20, 2024 | 12:09 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Racing United coach, Anthony Patrick.
Racing United coach, Anthony Patrick.

LIKE THEY did last season, Racing United from Portmore, St Catherine, are currently running away with the preliminary stage of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Tier II competition, now renamed the Jamaica Football Championship (JFC).

Racing now lead the JFC on 40 points, three more than second-place Tru-Juice, and 13 clear of Chapelton Maroons and Baptiste Alliance in third and fourth, respectively.

Although the disappointment of topping the preliminary round and then failing to qualify for the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) with their loss to Lime Hall in the semifinals still fresh, coach Anthony Patrick believes they are in much better stead this season to take their qualification all the way.

“We were very disappointed in not making the Premier League last year based on how we played up to the semifinals.

“But last season was very hectic. Winning the Major league with a pool of 25 players, then going to the parish playoffs and then into the Tier II competition.

“Five of our players got serious injuries, and we had to take them off in the semfinals. So it was a big setback for us. But now we have a broad pool of about 40 players,” he said.

He pointed out that they also had a number of key players out injured and that they are all almost back to full fitness.

“Our captain Markovic Brown has been injured and has only played three games. He should be back by the fourth of next month.

“Our top scorer last year, Raheem Edwards, just came back five games ago. He had his first full 90 minutes on Saturday and the other games we took him off the bench,” he said.

Racing lost their last game 1-0 to Reno but Patrick was quick to point out that three others players returning from injury were given opportunities to help them get back into match condition.

“No, that defeat is no worry. We know we have a lot of quality. We played three players who were just coming back from injury after two months, and we gave them an extended run before we pulled them out.

“We saw what we wanted and know what we want and we are alright with what we have.

“Plus, we still have one senior player who missed the game for missing training and he will be back for this Saturday’s game,” he said.

Racing play away to Chapelton Maroons today, and with eight rounds of games to go, Patrick said their focus is only on one objective from here on.

“It would be a morale boost if we can get in the league and get corporate sponsors.

“If we reach the league for the first time it would not be about winning. It would be about consolidating our space there for a few seasons before we can take a run at the title,” he commented.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but we have the quality and the players are happy and comfortable at the moment and once they are happy and the camaraderie is good, things can happen

“The look is different from last season. They understand what is in front of them. They realise what happened, so they are taking it very seriously this time. They were really upset and we are looking for a big showing starting Saturday.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com

Today’s Games

St Bess vs Grays Inn at Lacovia Community Centre (3:30 p.m.)

Reno vs Faulkland at Llandillo Sport Complex (3:30 p.m.)

Baptiste Alliance vs Meadforest at Heartease Sports Complex (3:30 p.m.)

Falmouth vs Petersfield at Elleston Wakeland Centre (3:30 p.m.)

Chapelton vs Racing at Turners Playing Field (3:30 p.m.)

Brown’s Town vs Tru-Juice at Mount Pleasant Academy (3:30 p.m.)