Zebras’ coach Anderson still learning the ropes
Brian (Bulla) Anderson has acquired a new-found appreciation for coaching.
The former Zebras, Cougars and Boulevard midfield general replaced Kyle Lightbourne as PHC coach during the off-season and is still settling in his new role at the illustrious Premier Division club.
Anderson’s term at the helm got off to a rocky start as Zebras crashed out of the Dudley Eve Trophy following back-to-back 6-2 and 5-1 losses to Cougars and Southampton Rangers.
But a 3-0 home league win against old rivals Somerset Trojans at the weekend gave the coach his first win and, perhaps more importantly, boosted confidence in the ranks.
“I hope and pray this leads to more victories and success for us,” said Anderson. “I think this team can get better and we are looking to go on the up and up and take things one game at a time.”
The heavy losses to Cougars and Rangers might have dented Zebras’ pride but Anderson said he always felt that it was only a matter of time before his team’s fortunes would take a turn for the better.
“You can’t judge us by the losses in the Dudley Eve and it’s too early to write this team off,” he said. “Like my good friend Dennis Brown said ‘it is not a sprint, it’s a marathon’ so we intend to be in the running just like everybody else.”
While he was relieved to finally get a win under his belt, Anderson knows he still has his work cut out for him as far as bonding with his players and stringing together the right combinations.
“There’s a lot of different personalities that you have to deal with and so you just have to find the right blend and I think we have found it,” he said. “Now I can appreciate what Nibs (Leroy Lewis) went through because it’s not easy.”
Anderson has also been put to task filling the voids created by the early retirements of defenders Omar Shakir and Corey Dowling, goalkeeper Raymond Glasford and midfielder Blenn Bean.
Speedy forward Cecoy Robinson is currently off Island while former captain Chris Furbert has opted for Corona League football.
Zebras talisman, Antwan Russell, reckons Anderson is the right man for the job and said his presence has already made a big impact at the club.
“Bulla knows what he’s talking about and as an ex- player it’s kind of easier to respect him,” he said.
Like Anderson, Russell, who netted all three of Zebras’ goals in the win against Trojans, also believes the best is yet to come for him and his fellow team-mates.
“We have a young team but as long as we play as a unit and don’t get carried away with ourselves we will be all right for the rest of the season.”
Russell forms part of a three-pronged attack with childhood friends Aquino Grant and Shakir Smith that has the potential to rip apart any defence.
“Shakir, Aquino and myself have played together for many years starting from junior ball,” he said. “We know what each other is capable of and where we should be on the pitch, which makes things easier.”
Smith was unlucky on numerous occasions not to have scored against Trojans in his first game back from a two-game suspension. But Russell reckons that it’s only a matter of time before the goals start pouring in for his team-mate.
“The cobwebs are still there,” he said. “But hopefully when we really need the goals he will come through, and I’m sure he will.”
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