Duckie defends Humble Lion record - calls for league format review
Humble Lion's head coach Donovan Duckie has called for a review of the current Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) format, while underlining his achievements with the Clarendon-based league title winners.
Duckie, who has come to the end of his three-year deal with the Mike Henry-owned club, led the outfit to the top of the RSPL table for what was their first league title in their seven-year history in Jamaican top-flight football. The coach, however, admitted disappointment at not being able to lift the championship title, after losing in the semi-finals to Arnett Gardens, which finished sixth in the league table.
The current RSPL format sees the team with the most points at the end of the season being crowned as league title champions - essentially, a secondary title; with the top six teams then engaging in play-offs to determine the eventual RSPL champions.
"I am not an underachiever; I have underachieved (this year) because I did not meet the targets that I set out at the start of this season," said Duckie. "The target was to win the league title, be the best defensive team, win the most attacking team award, and win the championship title. We wanted to emulate the Arnett Gardens team from a few seasons ago - winning everything."
"We won the league title but we did not win the championship so we underachieved as far as our targets are concerned," added Duckie.
Duckie, who is yet to win the Premier League title, admitted that it remains a personal ambition of his, but also feels that topping the table at the end of the season proper, deserves more recognition.
"We have to look at the format that we are using ... it's a backward step," Duckie argued. "There is no way a sixth-place team should be given the opportunity to be overall champions of the league."
"A league has to be about the most consistent team over eight or nine months and we were the most consistent team."
Duckie is adamant that it is the league title winners, who are more deserving of being recognised as champions of the league and given Caribbean Football Union club championships qualification and is suggesting a separate knockout competition for the top six teams.
In his first year with the club, Duckie took Humble Lion from the relegation zone to a third-place finish in the competition. He followed that up with another season as RSPL semi-finalists before leading them to the league title this season.
He is expecting to speak to the club shortly about his future. Duckie also has extensive experience at the schoolboy level and coached Hydel on a one-year contract last season.