Former national coach defends club’s mass importation of players

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By Neto Baptiste

Coach of the Old Road FC, Vincent Samuel, has sought to justify the former champions’ decision to import a total of 10 players so far this year.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Samuel said several factors have forced the club to take the drastic action.

“The reality is that some of our (overseas-based) players and national players would have gone off, and we don’t want to kill our momentum. We have individuals leaving as early as today [November 11th] to take up their national duties, so we built a team that we could have a steady rotation because the quality of the league is of such that you can’t skip a beat,” he said.

“I would agree that 10 players is a lot, but the reality is that we’re from a community where most of our young players are working in the hotels … and it’s pointless you have players who can only come training one day per week, or sometimes, at no time during the week,” he added. 

The Old Road FC have come under public scrutiny over their decision to import a vast majority of players. They are joined by the Grenades FC who have brought in a total of seven players, while Five Islands and All Saints have admitted to importing four and five players, respectively. There are also other clubs in the top and lower tiers that have imported players.

Still, Old Road only picked up their first win after three matches on Sunday, a win Samuel said could not have come at a better time.

“The players understood the position we were in and they figured they are much better than being on zero points from two matches, so we worked hard on the training ground. They did as much as possible to carry out the game plan. One of the things I am still not comfortable with is that we are giving up some soft goals and that is something we definitely have to work on in the upcoming games,” the coach said.

The former national women’s coach also sought to debunk reports that his job had been on the line going into Sunday’s match against defending champions, Liberta Blackhawks.

“To be quite frank with you, my job is not in question at this point in time, whether I would have lost yesterday [Sunday] or not. I would want to believe that the entire organisation is there at training and they understand what we are trying to do and I really wasn’t of that opinion,” Samuel said.

“It’s not just about winning the APL but its reflective of the amount of players that we brought in and it’s obvious as well that they are there to help the young ones to grow and that is also reaping benefits as far as we’re concerned,” he added.  Old Road currently sit at seventh in the 10-team standings with three points after three showings.

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