Janielle Josephs overcoming doubt

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Charokee Young of Hydel competes with Janielle Josephs (right) of St Andrew High School in the Girls’ 17-19 years old 400m event at the G.C. Foster Classics at the National Stadium on Saturday, March 11, 2018.

St Andrew High School for Girls’ Janielle Josephs continues to rise to the occasion since her commendable performance in the Class One 400m at last year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs). ‘Driven’, ‘dedicated’ and ‘determined’ are some of the adjectives that embody this student athlete. Described by her friends as reserved, yet witty, she has ambitious goals to represent Jamaica once again this year on a global platform. She gave The Gleaner an exclusive interview to discover the personality behind the performance.

Why did you start doing track and field?

Well, I think there are two stories to this. For me, initially, back in prep school, I wanted to miss school, but for my mother, a teacher saw me running and saw the talent and encouraged her to put me in tracks.

Why did you want to specialise in this event in particular?

I don’t know. I felt like 400m is a little different because I realised that it is the man with the best strategy and who can execute it properly. So I think it is different, and not many people realise that and can master it.

What would you consider your greatest achievement so far?

I think my greatest achievement would be CARIFTA and World Juniors. CARIFTA was my first (national) team. I had been trying for so long, and I went and came third in the 400m. To make a World Juniors team, that is the highest level you can reach as a junior, so I am very proud to reach that far.

What would you consider your greatest challenge?

Well, I think my greatest challenge is believing in myself sometimes. I think I’ve struggled with that over the years; like, I don’t see my talent. People always tell me, but I don’t see it.

How did you overcome this challenge?

My coach, my mother, my teammates motivate me and tell me that I am talented and I am a star. Now I believe it more since I see myself improving in high-school track and field, because honestly, I didn’t think I would ever make it back in Class Four when I just started.

What are the personal goals that you have set for this season?

This season, I just want to run better than last year, make another national team or two, and, again, hopefully, I will be on the podium at Champs.

What subjects do you do in high school, and which is your favourite?

Well, right now, in upper sixth [form], I do Caribbean studies, geography, sociology, and environmental science. I think I like geography sometimes, and environmental science because I think my teacher is nice and encourages me to like the subject more.

Do you have any other interest or hobbies outside of track and field?

So, my other hobby would be dancing. I like to dance, but I can’t dance. Other than that, if I am not dancing, I am probably listening to music or reading.

What do you like to read?

I think right now, I fall in the young-adult category, or romance.

Who is your favourite artiste, and which of their songs is your favourite?

My favourite artiste right now, even though he is not an English singer, but a Spanish singer, is Ozuna. I really like his voice; it’s just smooth. The music, the beat, everything, it is just great. Right now, I think I like Devuélveme.

Which athlete is your greatest inspiration, and why?

Wayde van Niekerk. Well, I think that run that he did at the Rio Olympics out of lane eight, that was a world record to me. That was such a stellar run. It was beautiful and from then, he has been my favourite athlete.

What qualities do you possess that enable you to be successful?

My determination. Sometimes people try to put me down, but I try to rise above that and stay determined to do my best always.

How do you balance your athletic life and academic studies?

To be honest, it gets hard sometimes. The work keeps piling up, and I have training, but I try to do the work in a timely manner, most of the time, to get everything done. You know, I am training every day, so I try to do the work when I go home or sometimes in my free sessions.

Who has supported you during this time, and what has been their impact on you?

I would say that my biggest supporters are my mother and my coach. They made me a better person, made me believe in myself and want to achieve more.

What advice do you have for students who want to achieve the same level of success?

I would want to encourage you to keep doing your best. Stick to it. Sometimes it may not start out how you want it to, but it is just the determination to keep going. Just do your best, and that will take you places.

Contributed by David Salmon.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190219/janielle-josephs-overcoming-doubt

I will save MBU – Dino Williams

Ian Allen
Dino Williams (left) of Montego Bay United getting the better of Ricardo Dennis of Boys’ Town during a tussle for the ball in a Red Stripe Premier League match at the Barbican Field on Wednesday, January, 17, 2018.

Despite being far from his best goal-scoring form or physical condition, Montego Bay United (MBU) striker Dino Williams is confident he will get the goals his team needs to avoid relegation this season. Williams, who has struggled with a groin injury for the last three seasons, did surgery a few months ago and has only been back playing for a little over a month.

But the ace striker knows how important he is to the MBU attack and how much the team relies on him for goals, and he has no doubts about bagging at least a goal a game for the remaining six fixtures they have to honour to bail his team out of their relegation woes.

“I did a surgery a few months ago, so I am just coming back, I am not a hundred (per cent), but it can work,” he said. “It’s been five games, and I have scored two goals so far, and I think this is the best one (game) I have had. I feel much lighter, and I feel much sharper than the couple games that I played before, and I am not feeling any pain, so I am feeling all right.”

Assured and confident

MBU took a point after drawing 1-1 at Humble Lion on Sunday and although it was not the most favourable result, Williams seemed assured and confident that the team will survive relegation, and he believes he has a big role to play along the way.

“I know we will survive,” he said. “We just have to work as a team and get the job done, starting next week. Even though we got a point on the road, it’s a good point, but we have to do the business at home next week. So next week we have to go out and get the three points. But the team is looking towards me also, and the only thing I can do is get into training, work hard, and try to get some goals and see if I can help my team. With seven games to go, I am going to see if I can get eight to nine goals in those seven games. We have to go out and put in the work and do our best,” he continued.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190219/i-will-save-mbu-dino-williams

Player power! – RSPL footballers call for new union

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Boys Town FC’s Shaquille Bradford tries to prevent Dwayne Ambusley (left) gaining possession during a Red Stripe Premier League match at the Barbican Stadium on Sunday, January 28, 2018.
Jermaine Barnaby
Miller
Contributed
Ricketts
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One of the duties of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) is to protect the rights of all 12 Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) clubs, and the welfare of each club’s players. However, some footballers believe that it is not doing enough regarding their collective bargaining for matters concerning their welfare.

UWI FC forward Ryan Miller is one such player, who said that players need a better collective voice, especially when negotiating for salaries and insurance coverage.

“We players locally need a steady background, someone who’s there while we are playing,” he said. “Most of the time, while players here are playing, we find ourselves in situations where we need to negotiate transfers or salaries, and we don’t really have an agent to do that for us, so that’s a big problem.”

Such an organisation, as sought by players, would be administered by players and past players alike, to ensure that those entrusted with the responsibility of negotiating, can do so from a position of experience, having played in the RSPL at some point in their careers. This would be in the mould of the Professional Footballers’ Association in England, which takes a similar membership structure.

Montego Bay United (MBU) player-coach Dwayne Ambusley strongly supports this, especially in light of his team’s past issues with monies owed to it and its players by league organisers.

BENEFITS

“Most likely, it would be more beneficial [because] if players have basic needs or issues with their clubs, they could put it to that association,” he said. “The association would deal with their welfare on that basis. Players have always been mistreated in the Premier League, based on what I’ve seen in my time playing here and players that I reason with.”

He went on to explain what that mistreatment consists of.

“Players being promised things, because sometimes, it may not even be in writing,” he said. “Or a club says, ‘This is what you’ll be getting (in terms of salary),’ but because it’s not in writing, they (players) can’t do much.

“Also, in terms of injuries and so forth, certain clubs, you get an injury and it’s drawn out, you been there waiting for some answers on certain things that should be done. Probably, the surgery is delayed and the player doesn’t hear anything about it and gets frustrated and probably moves on to another club.”

Ambusley believes that his teammate Dino Williams would probably have been better served by a more proactive union last season while playing with a groin injury and having his surgery delayed until last summer. While Williams took the decision himself to play through pain until the end of the season, because MBU lacked attacking options, Ambusley said he could have been in a difficult situation. He said that had Williams worsened the injury and then learnt that he had to end his career after surgery, he would have received no compensation or benefits because there is no one bargaining for his welfare.

“He would have been phased out just like that. There’s nothing to represent the players in terms of welfare. In any other work environment, he probably would have had something put in place to protect him.”

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts said he is all for the idea of players forming their own union.

“Anything that is going to positively impact players’ welfare, the JFF ought to support that,” he said. “We wouldn’t want players to be overbearing and unreasonable, but we would support any initiative that would benefit the players as far as their progress and welfare are concerned.”

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190219/player-power-rspl-footballers-call-new-union

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Morris soars at SMS Flights Classic

Contributed
Scientific and Medical Supplies (SMS) director Darren Lau (right), and Marlena Biart (centre), also representing SMS, present Sean Morris with his trophy for winning the SMS Flights Classic, held at the Constant Spring Golf Club at the weekend.

Sean Morris captured the SMS (Scientific & Medical Supplies) Flights Classic title in stellar style with steady and impressive rounds of three under par 67 each day. Morris ended the tournament 13 shots ahead of Justin Burrowes, who was tied with William Knibbs on 147.

The tournament, which was held at the Constant Spring Golf Club this past weekend, was well supported with over 80 players in the field. Constant Spring members Bruce Levy and Sean Garbutt walked away the first and second prizes in the men & men senior seven-to-12 category.

In the Men Super Senior zero-to-12 group, Jamaica Golf Association president, Peter Chin, took the winner’s title with 152 strokes. The second-place finisher was Michael Bradford on 161. Runaway Bay-based Fitzroy Hurst finished third on 163 and Michael Richards finished in fourth place, tied with Carlysle Hudson. Richards had the better final 18 round. Lincoln Williams won the Men Super Senior 13-24 title (169).

National representative Jodi Barrow took the ladies zero-to-12 prize with a two-day score of 156. Alison Lynn emerged the winner in the ladies’ 13-18 category with 186, while Diane Hudson was first in the 19-24 ladies’ segment with 182.

Over the two days of the SMS Flights Classic, a total of 24 junior golfers came out to test their skills against the course. Radino Lobban from the Sandals Foundation topped the boys 18 and Under group with 169, ahead of Luke Wright on 178. Tristan Brown shot an impressive 150 strokes over two rounds to top the Boys 15 and Under competitors. Second was Matthew Grant with 161.

Nine golfers turned out for the Boys 11-13 competition in which Aman Dhiman finished in the top spot with 154. Trey Williams took second place with 170 and Brady Holmes was third on 180.

Justine McKenzie won the Girls 18 and Under with 199 and the best one day Junior was Winni Lau on 78 strokes.

Michael Lowe shot even par 70 to emerge the best one-day player of the tournament.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190219/morris-soars-sms-flights-classic

Praught-Leer ‘complete’ after family connection

Gladstone Taylor
Commonwealth Games 3000m steeplechase gold medalist Aisha Praught-Leer at The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited in Kingston on Friday, February 15, 2019.

The winsome smile Aisha Praught-Leer wears on her face these days is not only because she is inching closer to the top tier in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.

The Commonwealth Games champion toldThe Gleaner that she is also beaming because of the rewards she is reaping now for deciding to unearth the roots of her biological father, Joseph Grant.

Praught-Leer, who was born and raised in the American midwest, sought answers to lingering questions in her head about her biological roots in 2013, and, after she reconnected with Grant, she decided to represent Jamaica in athletics.

The 29-year-old admits that it was a daunting task, but she is happy she took the risk as she now feels like a complete person.

“I always knew I was Jamaican,” she said. “That was always part of my upbringing, but I never had a personal relationship with my father.

“My mom and dad, who raised me, provided me with a beautiful life. I wanted for nothing growing up, but there was always a question, but I couldn’t really go there until I was ready,” she said.

“I used to think that maybe if I meet my Jamaican family, maybe they don’t like me. There is a few elements of changing your life and uprooting everything you thought you knew about yourself, to letting more information in, and you see so many stories of where it just doesn’t go well. But luckily for me, it went well and it provided a fullness to my life, that wasn’t there.”

Relocation

Praught-Leer’s mother, Molly lived with Grant in Jamaica during their relationship, but went back to the United States when she was three months pregnant with the distance runner as the relationship had broken down.

She raised Praught-Leer with her husband Jerome Praught, whom the national record holder credits for understanding her wish to want to connect to her roots.

“I am so lucky and thankful that the family who raised me and the family of my genetics have come together and made it really smooth and positive, and everybody is interested in how we can get to know each other,” she said. “It was important for me to express to my father, who raised me, that ‘you are still my father, but he (Grant) is also my father, and you (Molly) are my mom. I just give my parents credit for being so open-minded. We can have honest conversations and accept each other.”

She continued: “When we were in Rio de Janeiro (for the 2016 Olympic Games), it was remarkable because both of my families stayed together. My American parents and my Jamaican father stayed in the same AirBNB. And that explained how my American parents are.”

Whenever she visits Jamaica, Praught-Leer skips the hotels in Kingston and on the north coast for the easy streets and gentle hills of Bog Walk, St Catherine where her father is from.

“It is just my way of trying to deepen my relationship with my father’s family, and so I always stay there,” she said.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190219/praught-leer-complete-after-family-connection

Each MBU match is a final – Gama

Montego Bay United’s Eric Acquah (left) gets ahead of Humble Lion opponent Cory Hylton to win the ball during their Red Stripe Premier League match at the Effortville Community Centre in Effortville, Clarendon yesterday. Ian Allen/Photographer

Montego Bay United’s (MBU) Brazilian coach, Luciano Gama, said a point from their 1-1 draw in their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) game at the Effortville Community Centre yesterday was not enough, but that they will continue to prepare for their remaining six games as if they are all finals.

MBU took the lead against the hosts through a third-minute penalty from Keneil Kirlew, but Jermaine Christian’s equaliser two minutes after the break secured a point for Humble Lion.

“I am sorry we could not hold that advantage,” Gama said. “We just sorry about the results. It’s one point to bring back to home, but it is not enough for what we needed. It’s not good. One point is not what we needed. Also, because we started in front, maybe if the situation was like last week, we would celebrate, but we are sorry because we scored the goal first. Maybe if we could have held the points, as the three points are very important to us. We don’t get (points) but we are going to work hard and try find that next weekend.”

GREAT CHANCES

Humble Lion struggled to break down the MBU defence, but they got great chances through Renae Lloyd and Cory Hylton, but two execellent stops from veteran goalkeeper Jacomeno Barrett kept them at bay.

Humble Lion came to life after the equaliser and they had a number of chances to take the lead, but wasteful shooting and good goalkeeping from Barrett kept the scores level.

However, near the end, MBU nearly stole the points, but Jeadine White made a fine double save from a free kick and then from ace striker Dino Williams to save his team’s blushes.

Humble Lion coach O’Neil Thompson said the problem that has plagued them all season cost them the three points.

“We are not capitalising on the chances that we are creating,” he said. “But the creation level was up today compared to the last game. I am pleased with the amount of chances we created, but we’re not converting the chances we have for the points.”

MoBay stayed bottom on 21 points, while Humble Lion remain eighth with 31 points.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190218/each-mbu-match-final-gama

Windies to maintain focus

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Pybus

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):

Fresh off a historic Test series win over England, interim Windies head coach Richard Pybus wants the home side to execute their plans in the upcoming five-match one-day international (ODI) series.

The Windies recently defeated England 2-1 to capture the Wisden Trophy for the first time in more than a decade.

The two sides will meet at Kensington Oval on Wednesday for the first match of the ODI series.

Pybus said morale was high among the team and the players were eagerly looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re coming off the back of a Test series win and we’ve still got a couple players travelling back into the squad and we’re looking forward to them arriving, but the guys are very keen to take on England.

“I was delighted with the outcome of Test series. I would have loved it to be 3-0, but the loss of Jason (Holder) and then Keemo (Paul) with a quad pull, that set us back in the Test match, but I thought the guys stood up very, very well,” Pybus said.

“We have clear plans, but great planning doesn’t mean you’re going to execute, so all credit to Jason and the players; they were absolutely superb. They showed tremendous commitment and discipline and they spoke about what they wanted to deliver and they really did. Taking that into the series now we will be getting this ODI squad together doing the same planning.”

The Windies had to make three changes because of injuries to key players and will also have to do without the services of Shannon Gabriel for the first four ODIs because of suspension.

However, Pybus said he expected the new faces to step up to the plate if called upon.

“We’re pretty good. Both squads have had a lot of cricket, so our lads have a few aches and pains that we are working through, but I think we’re pretty good,” the head coach said.

“Carlos is back in the squad, so it’s great to have him coming in. Obviously, he’s a wonderful cricketer and coming back into the squad in Barbados is always great, because it’s his favourite ground. Chris Gayle is back into the squad as well, so he brings his formidable expertise and experience … Ashley (Nurse) and Devendra (Bishoo) as well, so we’ve got a few chaps coming in, so we’re really looking forward to getting the squad together.”

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190218/windies-maintain-focus

Williams honoured by Laureus nomination

Collin Reid
Sprinter Briana Williams (right) and coach Ato Boldon.

Speaking ahead of today’s ceremony, Ato Boldon, coach of 16-year-old Jamaican sprinting sensation Briana Williams, says the athlete is thrilled and honoured to be nominated for a Laureus World Sports Award.

Williams commanded attention after winning the sprint double at the World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. She also won three gold medals at the Carifta Games and closed the year with personal-best times of 11.13 seconds in the 100m and 22.50 in the 200m.

She has been nominated in the Breakthrough Athlete of the Year category along with 20-year-old US Open winner Naomi Osaka; Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the 17-year-old European Championships gold medal winner in the 1500m and 5000m; Spain’s Ana Carrasco, who became the first woman to win a motorcycling world title; skier Sofia Goggia from Italy, who won the Olympic Downhill gold medal and the Downhill World Cup title; and UK cyclist Geraint Thomas, the Tour de France winner.

WILLIAMS EXCITED

Boldon toldThe Gleaner that Williams was excited and motivated to be rubbing shoulders with sporting royalty.

“I think that’s (meeting sporting stars) her main motivation for the trip. Since she found out she was nominated, even before we could reveal it, she was excited to meet Lewis Hamilton, and Naomi Osaka and hopefully Serena Williams, and so on. She’s 16, and that’s a big part of the trip for her,” Boldon said through a series of text messages from Monte Carlo.

“For me, I have been introducing her to people that I know she has no idea who they are. So she has met Marcus Allen from the Oakland Raiders and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. She has met Cafu and Edwin Moses, as well as Sergey Bubka. She has no idea how great any of these people are, but that’s part of my job to explain to her. She has been having a good time so far and it will only get better at the actual gala,” Boldon further shared.

Boldon added that they were both surprised by the nomination and pointed out that Williams has handled the increased international attention well.

“She had a great year and would I have nominated her? Yes, but this is the Oscars for sports, so it is a pleasant surprise. She was surprised as well, but very flattered and honoured,” Boldon said.

“I don’t worry about Briana being overwhelmed by the attention; she wants to be great. She knows enough about the sport to know that this is a part of it. Briana has been groomed to be a star on and off the track. She is experiencing some things for the first time – people outside wanting to take her picture and asking for autographs, people coming up to her – little kids from India knowing who she is and so on.

“To keep it in context, I know how important this is for Jamaica, for the Caribbean and for young women, and she is representing all three here,” Boldon said.

The Laureus World Sports Awards will take place at the prestigious Salle des Etoiles, part of The Sporting Club Monte Carlo.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190218/williams-honoured-laureus-nomination

Girona stun Real

AP
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale (left) tries to tap the ball past Girona goalkeeper Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou (right) during a LaLiga match at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain, yesterday.

MADRID (AP):

With a home loss to a team that had not won in more than two months, Real Madrid wasted all the hard work that had allowed them to move closer to Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league.

After winning five in a row to cut Barcelona’s lead to six points, Madrid were stunned 2-1 by relegation-threatened Girona at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium yesterday, and are now nine points behind their rivals in third.

“It’s a shame that we let these points slip by,” Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said. “We were coming off a good run and we were getting closer to the lead.”

Girona, who had not won in 13 matches in all competitions, and were coming off six straight losses, scored two second-half goals to reverse a 1-0 half-time deficit.

The Catalan club had not won in the league since November and had entered the weekend one point above the relegation zone. Their last win in all competitions had been on December 5 against Alaves in the Copa del Rey.

“It’s a well-deserved prize after several matches without being able to win,” Girona coach Eusebio Sacristan said. “We deserved the victory after the way we played in the second half.”

Girona, who moved to 15th, had lost twice to Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey last month, being outscored 7-3. They eliminated Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 on away goals after consecutive draws.

MADRID NOW THIRD

The surprise loss dropped Madrid to third place after the weekend matches. Atletico Madrid moved to second again after defeating Rayo Vallecano 1-0 on Saturday to halt a two-game losing streak in the league. Barcelona edged Valladolid 1-0 with a penalty kick converted by Lionel Messi at Camp Nou Stadium to end a three-game winless run in all competitions.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190218/girona-stun-real

All systems go for KPMG League

Rachid Parchment
Chris Hind, president of the Jamaica Squash Association (left), happily accepts a sponsorship cheque for $300,000 from Tarun Handa, managing partner for KPMG in Jamaica, for the 20th annual KPMG Squash League. The 2019 edition of the flagship tournament was launched at the Liguanea Club on Saturday.

The 20th staging of the KPMG League, one of the most highly anticipated events on the local squash calendar, will kick off tomorrow.

Close to 60 players will contest the team-based competition that is distinguished by its handicap format, which creates a level playing field across genders, age groups and skill levels. The unique seeding system ensures intensively competitive matches throughout the tournament, and most players have a genuine shot at progressing through the ranks as the contest unfolds.

CONTENDERS

Defending champions The Cereal Killers will be looking for a repeat win, with All Jamaica Under-15 boys’ champion Tobias Levy heading the line-up. However, standing firmly in their way are last year’s runners-up, The Saints, as well as 2018 semi-finalists Stoneleigh Coffee, both of whom have refreshed their slates in a bid to go the distance this time around.

Another team to watch is former champions the Milex Eagles, whose roster includes former Caribbean junior champions Akelia and Larissa Wiltshire, as well as former All Jamaica junior champion, Tahjia Lumley. Also in the mix are the newly formed Power Bolts, which feature junior national champions Savannah Thomson and Aman Dhiman, current holders of the Under-13 titles.

At a ceremony held at the Liguanea Club on Saturday, KPMG handed over their $300,000 sponsorship contribution to officially launch the tournament.

President of the Jamaica Squash Association, Chris Hind, said, “The 20th anniversary of the KPMG League is a major milestone as it cements KPMG’s position as one of the longest-standing supporters of Jamaican squash, and it marks the continuation of a tournament that the entire squash community looks forward to contesting and supporting each year.”

Managing partner for KPMG in Jamaica, Tarun Handa, said: “KPMG keeps coming back as sponsors because this tournament creates a huge amount of camaraderie It’s one of the most outstanding competitions, in terms of the quality of play, the sportsmanship, and the level of crowd support, and it continues to get bigger every year, and we’re pleased to align our brand with it.”

The 2019 KPMG Squash League is scheduled to run for six weeks. The four-week round-robin competition will be followed by a three-stage knockout round and a plate competition. All matches will be played at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting at 5 p.m.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190218/all-systems-go-kpmg-league