Let's do it for Forth - Olympic players vow Premier League return
MAJOR League team Olympic Gardens, once a saucy Premier League side coached by Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey with players such as Reggae Boyz Ian Goodison, Gregory Messam and Jonathan Williams, is using the death of Okeem Forth as motivation to return to the big league.
Forth was substituted injured during a Major League quarter-final match against Molynes United on April 28 at the Constant Spring Sports Complex in St Andrew. The 18-year-old striker had scored for his team. After complaining of pains, he was taken to hospital and died at approximately 10 p.m.
The game ended 1-1 at the end of regular and extra-time. However, Molynes won 4-1 on penalty kicks. Olympic's players said since Forth's death, they are even more committed to winning the Major League next season in order to gain promotion to the Super League, en route to the Premier League.
"Of course, we want to do it for Okeem. The team came together at Okeem's nine night and we plan to do it for him," said Oshane Campbell, a defender and close friend of Forth.
"I heard about Olympic playing in the Premier League. I want to be part of the rebuilding. The plan is to take the team to the top league. We have a young squad with players of ability to take the team to Super League then Premier League," the former Jamaica College 2013 Manning Cup winner added.
"I think the coach, Mikey Peart, and the management team have the same plan. I have been approached by other clubs but I have no intention of leaving Olympic. I want to stay and lift my community," said the 22-year-old.
Another player, Kimani Morgan, said it will be an uphill task but they want to return to the nation's top league.
"It is a big task but we have the players to do it. We have a young team with lots of talent. We will need big help, financially, mentally and physically. We need to stay and steer the ship," said Morgan, who was a strike partner of Forth.
Coach Peart said it was always the team's plan to win the Major League but declined comment on their prospects.
"We always want to win the league and move up. However, at the moment I am demotivated by the passing of Akeem, who was such a big talent."
Olympic Gardens participated in the 1997-98 Premier League but was demoted and have struggled to return since. Under the guidance of 'Admiral' Bailey, Olympic Gardens won the Jamaica Football Federation Champions Cup in 1992-93.
Among the club's former players are 'Pepe' Goodison, Messam, Wolry Wolfe and goalkeeper Gregory Hall.