Downes seeking local head coach at Mount Pleasant

August 16, 2021
Walter Downes, Mount Pleasant Academy’s technical director.
Walter Downes, Mount Pleasant Academy’s technical director.

Mount Pleasant Football Academy's technical director and interim coach Walter Downes says he has no intention of staying on as head coach of the St Ann-based Jamaica Premier Club club for the long term. According to Downes, he is ready to relinquish the position as soon as the academy finds a suitable person for the job. He revealed that they are in the process of vetting candidates, and whenever a new coach is appointed it will be someone local.

"I am still technical director but for the last few weeks I have taken over as the head coach while we are searching for a new head coach," he said. In his four games in charge of the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) team, Downes has two wins, a draw and a loss. But although he has done well in the post, he said he is looking forward to handing over the reins.

"They asked me if I would step in for the shortened season and I am more than happy to do that. And it hasn't really affected the rest of the work that I am doing with the academy," he pointed out.

Capacity to learn and grow

The 60-year-old Englishman said the intention is to also acquire the right back room staff, along with a good team, but whoever they bring in as coach must have the capacity to learn and grow.

"I hope to get a Jamaican head coach and we can work together to build up the quality of the coaching so we can have top players," Downes said.He added that the academy already has a group of well qualified and experienced English coaches to guide the development and coaching programmes at the academy.

"I don't think we need overseas coaches. I brought a staff of four people over. They are very experienced. They help out with the coaching education at the academy, so I believe Mount Pleasant Academy team should have a local head coach and local assistant coaches," he stated.

However, he said the identifying an ideal fit for the role is taking time.

"My knowledge of the local managers (coaches) is not good. I have been here for a year and there was no football (for most of this time) so we have to rely on the people at the academy to steer us in the right way. We will have an interviewing process, have people coming in to do technical practices to show us that their coaching is of a standard that is good enough to be in the Premier League," Downes said while adding that he wants the selection to be made as soon as possible because, at age 60, he was getting "too excited on the touchline."

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