Best and Worst of the 2019-20 RSPL season

May 29, 2020
Waterhouse FC’s Nicholy Finlayson (left) shields the ball from Molynes United’s Devon Hodges during their Red Stripe Premier League match at the Constant Spring Sports Complex on November 3 last year.  Waterhouse won 2-1.
Waterhouse FC’s Nicholy Finlayson (left) shields the ball from Molynes United’s Devon Hodges during their Red Stripe Premier League match at the Constant Spring Sports Complex on November 3 last year. Waterhouse won 2-1.
Mount Pleasant’s Francois Swaby (front) goes up for a header with Molynes United’s Andrew Peddlar during  a Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium in October last year.
Mount Pleasant’s Francois Swaby (front) goes up for a header with Molynes United’s Andrew Peddlar during a Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium in October last year.
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With the cancellation of the 2019-20 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season, THE WEEKEND STAR takes a look at the Best and Worst of the 2019-20 campaign.

BEST

Waterhouse and Mount Pleasant title charge

Among the many questions left unanswered from the premature end to the 2019-20 season will be the destination of the regular season and the RSPL titles. Last year's finalists Waterhouse set the pace and had control over the top spot for the majority of the season. But Mount Pleasant have kept really close to the Marcel Gayle-coached team for the one million dollar prize. The season was suspended before their all- important clash. At the end of the aborted season, Waterhouse had 54 points and Mount Pleasant 53.

Tivoli Gardens revival

After the first round, Tivoli were inching closer to the relegation places. The return of Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey to the club as technical director helped to spark the fire of the players. They won six of their nine matches played in 2020 and managed to climb into the top six before league play was stopped. The first season after the passing of club president Edward Seaga, unfortunately, is left incomplete.

Dunbeholden play-off contenders

Statistically, Dunbeholden had a much better season than last year when they barely survived relegation. They surpassed last season's total of 33 points and managed to accumulate 43 points and were very much in the play-off hunt with four games to go. Striker Dean Andre Thomas was having a great season with 12 goals, tied with three other players for second place in the golden boot race. Could they have asserted themselves as title contenders?

WORST

Molynes United's rise and fall

Promoted club Molynes United started their debut season off with a bang, winning their first six games, including a 3-0 win over defending champions Portmore United in their opener. But they quickly came crashing down to earth, going winless in their next 12 matches and falling very close to the relegation places. They managed to beat Waterhouse two days before Christmas but that did not lead to a resurgence in 2020. They will have a chance to start anew next season because of the cancellation, although they were in position to confirm Premier League safety.

Kimani Arbouine vs the fans

After being substituted in Arnett Gardens' 2-1 loss to Molynes United on September 22, Kimani Arbouine lost his composure, jumped the fence and confronted a fan in the stands at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium. He was fined $10,000 and was slapped with a six-match ban for his behaviour. Airbourne was signed by Cavalier SC in the January transfer window after his contract was terminated.

Early coaching dismissals

While coaching turnover in a season is not a rarity, there were clubs that decided to part ways with their head coaches. Veteran Jerome Waite was sacked by Arnett Gardens two weeks before the season started, while Vere United relieved Michael Bennett of his duties after four games were played. But the most surprising dismissal was by Mount Pleasant, who gave the boot to former under-23 head coach Donovan Duckie after their season-opening loss to Harbour View.

Coronavirus

Ultimately, the season will be remembered for its premature end. The outbreak of the coronavirus resulted in the suspension of league play on March 12. Although the league was targeting a return in the summer, the Jamaica Football Federation declared the season null and void on May 15.

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