Waiting for a piece of the action
VINA DEL MAR, Chile:
THEY haven't had a kick as yet. That's how it is, just part of the game. Not everybody can play.
For the Reggae Boyz, who have not yet had a piece of the action at Copa America 2015, staying inspired is paramount as they itch for a direction from Winfried Sch‰fer to get on to the pitch.
"We've a big squad, 23 players, all of us want to play. But the coach has to decide the 11 players who play," noted Daniel Gordon, the 30-year-old defender, who has spent much of his time on the bench since being drafted by Sch‰fer ahead of the last World Cup.
"I haven't played so far, but I'm still motivated. Playing against Argentina would be a dream. Everyone wants to play against Argentina, so I hope I get a chance to represent myself and my country," added Gordon, who plays midfield for his club in Germany, Karlsruher FC.
Allan Ottey, new to the team, is happy for the call-up for the South American championship.
"We don't touch the pitch as yet but we don't feel any way because we just come for experience," the Montego Bay United striker admitted.
The 22-year-old striker added: "I feel proud of myself, it's my first national senior team call. We've another tournament coming up, the Gold Cup, so I've to work hard and hope that I get a call for the Gold Cup."
His clubmate at MoBay United, Dino Williams, has not been top of the pecking order as well, with Darren Mattocks, Giles Barnes and Deshorn Brown featuring in past games, all getting a look-in on goal.
The team has not yet scored and Williams hopes he can make a difference when his number is called.
"You've to keep focused and hope because the coach can call upon you at any time. You've to keep your head up; when the game is not going your way you want to go out there and play, but sometimes it's to the benefit of the team, who the coach thinks is the best player on the day to go out there," the 25-year-old former Muschett High daCosta Cup representative reasoned.
It's not Williams' first time in a national shirt. Asked what goes through his mind when the team misses chances to score, his response was akin to any baller on the team.
" ... Sometimes you say you wish it was you, but you've to keep your composure when you get those chances or half-chances. But as a striker, you've to work hard just the same," he observed. "You're out there on the bench and you see some of the guys get chances and miss them. So when I go back on the training field, I've to work harder to know that when I get my chance I can do the job."
At the Under-20 and Under-23 levels, Joel Grant has seen action in the Jamaica shirt. He views this transition to senior level as natural and, like those looking on from the sidelines, is hungry for action as well.
"Obviously, every player wants to play at the highest level and that's where we are at the moment," said the attacking midfielder. "But our team is very strong and it's important. It's not only the 11 players that play, but the squad that makes those 11 players stronger. So, you've to always give your best and hope that when your chance comes you make sure that you take it.
"These are dreams come true. Ever since I was a little boy, I've been dreaming of making a senior debut for Jamaica and to be with the squad in a tournament like this is amazing," expressed Grant, the 27-year-old who plays for Yeovil Town.
Jamaica, after losing 1-0 to defending champions Uruguay and Paraguay, the runners-up, will face World Cup runners-up Argentina, with the world's top footballer, Lionel Messi, in their final match today at 6:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Jamaica time) at Sausalito Stadium.