Former Premier League stars propel Sandals to title
Former Reggae Boyz World Cup goalkeeper Aaron Lawrence said the addition of experienced players and new disciplinary measures enabled Sandals South Coast (formerly Sandals Whitehouse) to finally win the Western Confederation title, putting them en route to Premier League qualification.
Lawrence guided Sandals South Coast to beat Montego Bay Boys Club 4-3 in the final at Jarrett Park, Montego Bay, on May 7. In the 2015-16 season, they had fallen in the semi-finals. The previous season, they were beaten in the final.
Sandals are among three qualifiers for the Jamaica Football Federation Premier League play-offs scheduled to start next month, joining Kingston and St Andrew Football Association champions Cavalier and South Central Confederation winners Rivoli United, awaiting the winners of the Eastern Confederation.
"Probably the change in name brought better luck," Lawrence jokingly told STAR Sports.
"We retained the same squad but added the experience of former Premier League players such as Owen Warren and Leonard Rankine, who both played for Reno," he explained.
"We made some changes and took a strong stance on discipline. We see it paying off. Now we are in the play-offs for the first time," Lawrence added
"It is a joy to win a championship, but I will only celebrate when we reach the premiership. We must give credit to the players for their commitment," he said.
Looking ahead, Lawrence said the play-off, which will see the top two teams advancing, will be tough.
'It is going to be a tough task but we have a plan, and if properly executed will bear fruits," he said, adding that the support of Sandals Resort International chairman Gordon 'Butch' Stewart and son Adam Stewart has been tremendous.
'The management support was tremendous, Mr Butch Stewart and son Adam Stewart are fully behind the team. The players are given time to train. They are looking forward to us moving to the Premier League," he said.