Jameel Perry copped the Wendy's Player of the Month gong for January, but the talented forward believes his side have underachieved and wants to end the season with the Digicel Pro Bowl title.
Perry said had it not been for a number of injuries – notably last season’s top scorer Makesi Lewis (broken leg) – to his team, Police, who started the season 2016/17 with a 5-1 Digicel Pro League win over Ma Pau Stars, could have done a lot better, particularly in the league.
Last week the Lawmen also showcased their prowess with a 9-0 mauling of Point Fortin Civic to qualify for the season-ending Digicel Pro Bowl knockout tournament.
Now the boys in blue are one step further in their final title chase of the season and will face Pro Bowl holders Defence Force from 6pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium in the semi-finals after a 3-2 penalty win over W Connection following a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night. It was the first win over the Savonetta Boys for Police since coach Richard Hood took over in 2012.
“We prepared for this (win over Connection),” said Perry, as he tried to calm himself during a party-like atmosphere after the win. “And, we are going forward with everything for this tournament, this trophy.”
Perry’s seven goals in five appearances during January didn't go unnoticed – picking up the Wendy’s Player of the Month – however it wasn't enough to help his side avoid a bottom-half finish in the just concluded Digicel Pro League.
Perry, who was side-lined through injury for half the season finished with 9 league goals, three goals behind 2016-17 league leading scorer Akeem Roach (12) of Club Sando, but the Lawmen's forward's strike rate stood above the rest.
“The most important thing was to give the coach (Hood) my best effort because he really worked hard with us despite the challenges," Perry said.
“We had to keep rotating and filling different positions because of injuries. It was hard a lot of times for the team to settle into the way we can really play. It also affected the fitness of our team.
“[Our finish in the bottom half in the league] is really bad because we could have done better had it not been for so many injuries [throughout] the season.”
Hood, who echoed Perry’s views, said, “We recognise that we have not done as well as we should have this season, and we want to win this [Pro Bowl]. This would make up for the disappointment in the league, so we want this Cup. We are going after it.
“Connection, of course, was the biggest hurdle mentally because we haven’t beaten them before. It was a tremendous effort from our guys [against Connection]. We knew the strengths of Connection, and we also know their weaknesses and how we could hurt them. I think you would have seen me running on the field celebrating [when we equalised late] because I thought we had our chances all along and finally it did happen.”
Hood admitted it was nerve-racking during the penalty kicks.
“It was good to finally get over that hurdle,” he said. “I hate penalties—we do very well on the practice field but when it’s on the pressures of the occasion, we tend to choke.”
Central FC will take on Club Sando in semi-final one of the Digicel Pro Bowl from 4pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Sunday, for a place in the final on Feb. 19.
Wendy’s Player of the Month – season 2016/17
Andre Toussaint (W Connection)
Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force)
Dimitrie Apai (W Connection)
Jameel Perry (Police FC)