UWI’s skip­per Smith lead­ing from the front

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Marc Stamp Gleaner Writer

THE UWI FC cap­tain, Rochane Smith, is cer­tainly lead­ing from the front. His team is on top in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) this sea­son and the mid­fielder is now the com­pe­ti­tion’s top scorer after nine of 33 pre­lim­i­nary round games.

“I am feel­ing good to know that the hard work is pay­ing off. The team is on top and also I am the com­pe­ti­tion’s lead­ing scorer,” Smith told The Gleaner dur­ing the RSPL weekly press con­fer­ence at Red Stripe, Span­ish Town Road, yes­ter­day.

“Our plan this sea­son is to ul­ti­mately win the league. In our de­but last sea­son, we started slow but pro­gressed and fin­ished in fifth po­si­tion, missing a semi-fi­nal spot by only one point,” he dis­closed.

“Now, we have set a goal and are off to a much bet­ter start than planned. We had tar­geted 18 points at this stage and we have ac­cu­mu­lated 20. We want to keep press­ing ahead,” the skip­per shared.

UWI have se­cured six wins, two draws and only one loss from nine games. They have de­feated some sea­soned cam­paign­ers, in­clud­ing Water­house, Tivoli Gar­dens, Boys’ Town, FC Reno, Ar­nett Gar­dens and Hum­ble Lion.

“It au­gurs well that we have de­feated some top teams. We set out to win against top teams and have done that so far,” he said.

AN­OTHER TOUGH GAME

UWI have set sights on beat­ing reign­ing cham­pi­ons Mon­tego Bay United FC when the teams meet this Sun­day at WesPow Park in St James.

“It will be an­other tough game. We are work­ing on a strat­egy. Once we ex­e­cute the plan, we should get a pos­i­tive re­sult against Mon­tego Bay United,” Smith rea­soned.

The RSPL’s top marks­man with six goals, five from the spot, has ad­mit­ted that it’s all about build­ing con­fi­dence.

“Be­fore the start of the sea­son, I had set my­self a tar­get of scor­ing at least ten goals in my at­tack­ing mid­field role and also a min­i­mum of ten as­sists. Now, the aim is higher,” the lanky player said.

The 24 year-old is a sec­ond year stu­dent study­ing his­tory at the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion. He val­ues highly the sup­port he re­ceives from UWI as well as fam­ily mem­bers.

“Our coach (Mar­cel Gayle) is do­ing a won­der­ful job and there is great sup­port from man­age­ment. Per­son­ally, I also get sup­port from my mom, Al­marie Planter, and un­cles – Bar­ring­ton and Der­rick Planter. That is en­cour­ag­ing for me,” he said.

Smith started com­pet­i­tive foot­ball while at St John’s Pri­mary in St Cather­ine, then St Cather­ine High, where he rep­re­sented the Man­ning Cup team for five years. He also spent one year at St Jago High.

RI­CARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

UWI’s Cap­tain Rochane Smith (cen­tre) in ac­tion against Hum­ble Lion’s Michael More­land (left) and Jer­maine Chris­tian in a Red Stripe Premier League en­counter at the UWI Bowl last sea­son.

FILE

Rochane Smith

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