Beckford delivers on promise - Rivoli striker now targets national team
A reminder from coach Calvert Fitzgerald and a promise from forward Kemar Beckford were what made the difference for Rivoli United on Sunday as they defeated Harbour View 2-0 in the Red Stripe Premier League.
"In the first half, I did not really play good, but coming into the second half, coach said that we have to do what we do in training. So I went out there with the intention to pick it up.
"I had scored six goals before this game and the coach said that, for the last two games, I had not scored any goals, so I promised him that I was going to give him a hat-trick, but I gave him a double, and I am pleased with myself," goalscoring hero Kemar Beckford, who scored in the 81st and 90+2 minutes, told The Gleaner at the end of the game.
Jermie Lynch ejection
Beckford could have added a third reason: the quick ejection of Harbour View substitute Jermie Lynch, who spent just six minutes on the field and left at a time when coach Andrew Hines was counting on him to give his team an offensive punch.
Lynch, who felt that he was assaulted by an opposing player, uttered words that were deemed "insulting and abusive" to the referee as he made his case for what he deemed the referee's inaction.
While Lynch's ejection gave Rivoli an advantage numerically and otherwise, Beckford saw the situation differently.
"We did not care about the red card because we knew we were going to win the match. I knew I was going to score because I worked on it in the training. So I just came out to do it.
"I told my team to play the ball on the ground because we were playing too much air ball against Harbour View. I know when we play the ball on the ground and run at them, they are afraid of us, so we just put it on the ground and got the job done," said the player, who stands no higher than 5'8" inches, but who won a header to open the scoring for his team.
According to Beckford, whose second goal was one of a high quality, what also worked in his team's favour was momentum.
"We are coming off a victory over Old Harbour in the St Catherine Knockout final, so we had a good momentum and were confident. Also, the last game against Harbour View ended as a 2-2 draw at Harbour View, and I can tell you they were lucky.
"The game ended 2-2 and they got a late equaliser in extra time. We know we have Harbour View's ticket. Last year, we drew with them throughout the season and they beat us in the last leg. Come this year, we 'clapped' them in the second leg and we are going to do the same thing in the third leg," the 23-year-old declared confidently.
Having increased his tally to eight goals, Beckford is gunning for more to realise his objective.
"I captained Fraser's Whip last season, and I decided that I have to step up to another level and present myself because my plan is to play football at a higher level, so I am looking forward to a national call. I got an Under-20 call before and I am looking for the senior call. That was about three years ago. I went to Brazil with the Under-20s for three weeks along with players like Neco Brett, Devon 'Speedy' Williams, and Ashani Walker. I did not make the final squad to Guatemala.
"Right now, I'm looking for a contract, also, I have to work. It is my first year, so I tell myself I have to work hard because I am looking for a contract, and to get that, you have to play for the national team. So that is what I am working towards," the former Excelsior High School Colts player said.
Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Arnett 21 14 3 4 37 22 14 45
W. House 22 12 5 5 35 12 19 41
MoBay U 22 10 6 6 27 15 12 36
H. View 22 9 7 6 28 22 6 34
Rivoli U 22 9 5 8 33 33 0 32
Tivoli 22 9 5 8 29 29 0 32
H. Lion 21 8 5 8 21 19 2 29
Cavalier 22 7 6 9 16 15 1 27
B. Town 22 6 5 11 22 34 -12 23
Reno 22 5 6 11 27 37 -10 21
Sporting 22 6 3 13 23 38 -15 21
Barbican 22 4 8 10 15 31 -18 20