UWI’s skipper Smith leading from the front
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.
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.