Don't blame Arnett - Waite
Arnett Gardens' coach Jerome Waite believes teams which finished atop the regular season, but fell by the wayside during the top-six play-offs, have been whining after all agreeing to the terms of the Red Stripe Premier League.
Humble Lion and University of the West Indies FC, regular-season winners and runners-up, respectively, both failed to make Monday's final, beaten in semis action by Arnett and Portmore United.
Arnett, in particular, struggled in the regular season before staging a dramatic late run to finish sixth then advanced to the final from the top-six quarter-final and semi-final play-offs.
Humble Lion played 33 games in the regular home-and-away and topped the standings for which they earned $1 million dollars. Arnett Gardens now stand to win $2.5 million dollars and one of two places at the Caribbean Football Union Club Championships should they win the final.
Critics of the system believe Arnett, who barely made the top six, do not deserve to be vying for the Premier League title.
Waite, however, said everybody was on the same page at the start of the season, agreeing to the new format it was introduced and, therefore, it was to say Arnett should not be in the final because of their sixth-place regular-season finish.
"In previous years, when we go with the league format, after the top two, is as if everybody else lose interest, and then they introduce back to the semi-finals after three rounds, and you could see a different approach from the teams," said Waite.
"It is not like in Europe where the top four teams still vie for the Champions League. In our competition, you only have the Premier League and then two spots for the Caribbean Championships. Having more teams getting involved, to move to the next round, which is the quarter-finals, it's a good thing for our football," he added.
Waite said the adjustments of players salaries in the middle of Arnett's season affected his team's performance.
"We have gone through our low point of the season when our players suffered the consequence of the financial adjustments. It put a lot of pressure on the team, but despite all of that, I, as coach, ensured that I keep the mental part going but, it's not much you can do if so much money has been cut from salaries," he said.
"Players will lose interest, and the ones who lost interest, we asked them to move to other clubs where they can earn a bit more, and the ones that stayed behind, we work with them," he added.