Fri | Jun 23, 2017

Stewart doesn't want national call up

Published:Monday | March 20, 2017 | 3:00 AMNodley Wright
Tremaine Stewart (left) tussles with Zaine Sebastien Francis-Angol (centre) and Tamarley Thomas of Antigua and Barbuda in a World Cup Semi Final Round qualifying match during his stint in the Jamaica senior men's team in 2012.

To fans of local football, attacking player Tremaine Stewart should be a fixture in the national team. Fans, however, should not hold their breath, as, according to Stewart himself, that will not happen.

The player, who first shone as a schoolboy for Eltham before graduating to August Town FC and Portmore United locally, recently replied with a blunt "no" to questions about playing with the Reggae Boyz band.

"No," Stewart told The Gleaner after starring for Portmore United in a recent Red Stripe Premier League game against Boys' Town FC.

"I am not interested in playing for the national team. This is because of the history I have with the national team. I don't think I should go into it, but I will cut it short and say that my biggest fan in the world, my big brother, passed away when I was in the national team and I never got the kind of response that I wanted from them at the time, so I decided that I don't want to be a part of it," he said.

That incident happened in 2013 when current interim coach Theodore Whitmore was in charge and Stewart said he needed a little time off to attend to matters relating to his brother's funeral, but was not pleased with how the situation was handled. That, he said, has hurt him so deeply that he wants nothing to do with the national team.

"It does not matter what I do now as a part of my Premier League team. I don't wish to be a part of the national team. If they called me, I would not take it," the skillful player said.

Stewart even indicated that he has even turned down an offer from former national coach Winfried Sch‰efer to be a part of the unit.

"Yes, there was a time when Sch‰efer invited me and I did not take it. I did not take it because of the response I got from them when my brother passed. My brother passed a few years ago and they never understood me or helped me in the way that I wanted. I wanted time off," he reiterated.

FIRM DECISION

So firm is Stewart in his decision to shun the national team that only his parents can influence a change of heart.

"For a change of mind and heart to happen, I will have to talk to my parents. Only my parents can say yes I should play, and I haven't asked them and they haven't said that to me," the 12-time capped player explained.

The national team aside, Stewart still enjoys his football and is focused on getting one last professional opportunity outside the country. This opportunity would follow stints with Aalesund (Norway) from 2012-2014 and RoPS in Finland in 2015.

"I am working really hard because I want to get another contract (overseas). I was last overseas in Finland and did a surgery on my ankle. Some people may not know, but I did that last year and that has been affecting me on and off, but I decided that I was not going to let it hold me down. I am fighting through it and getting back to my best"