Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Playing for his father

Published:Sunday | June 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMNodley Wright
Shamar Nicholson arriving home last Thursday from Peru where Jamaica played the home team in a friendly match.
Shamar Nicholson

Like most young men, Shamar Nicholson's father meant the world to him, and every day, especially Father's Day, is like a tribute to him.

The 20-year-old, a new member of the national team, lost his father at a football game close to four years ago.

"My father played a big role in my life. If he was here now, I am confident that I would have reached much further. He would have given me more motivation.

"He loved football and he died at a football game," Nicholson said of his late father, Wayne.




"At that time, I was a youth player for Boys' Town, waiting to break into the senior team. I was watching one of the senior team's matches one day, and while sitting in the stands, my father came in. When he came in, I just started watching him and couldn't take my eyes off him.

"It was a strange feeling. I just didn't know what was happening and couldn't explain the feeling, but I stopped watching the game and started watching him," Nicholson said of his father, who was shot dead at that football match.

It was the start of a very difficult period for Nicholson as his father was a constant source of inspiration.

"My father always spoke to me about the game and asked me if I really wanted it and told me the stuff that I had to do to make it as a successful player.

"When I used to give trouble, he would say to me that I cannot want to be footballer and have people saying bad things about me. He also watched a lot of interviews with players talking about what they had to do to make it, and told me I should follow in their footsteps," the former Trench Town player said.

While he harboured destructive thoughts, including ones of revenge, the women in his life did their best to get him back on track.

"My family counselled me and I went away to my stepmother's house. My stepmother sent for me, my brother and sister to get us out of Rema, and it helped me to cool off.

"Also my aunts, Kadeen Gayle and Nickesha Gayle, as well as my mother, Racquel Gayle, told me to keep working hard at my game and make my father proud," Nicholson, the last child for his father said.

Over time, the message preached to him by his mother and aunts found fertile soil in Nicholson's head. He decided to buy into it.

"I thought that what they were saying to me was the right idea and that is why I keep playing now. My dream is to play professionally overseas, and I want to do it for him. He was always there when I was little. He was always at my games.

"I heard that he was a good player in his youth, but he went abroad, and when he did, he gave up on that. I really want to make it for him," said the player who was the Red Stripe Premier League's best young player two years running and who was beaten by Jermaine Johnson of Tivoli Gardens to the leading goalscorer title last season.