Sun | Aug 25, 2019

Nicholson thrilled by Belgian move

Published:Wednesday | August 14, 2019 | 12:27 AMNodley Wright/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Shamar Nicholson (foreground) dribbles ahead of Honduran player Emilio Izaguirre in their Concacaf Gold Cup match held at the National Stadium recently.
Jamaica’s Shamar Nicholson (foreground) dribbles ahead of Honduran player Emilio Izaguirre in their Concacaf Gold Cup match held at the National Stadium recently.

Reggae Boy Shamar Nicholson yesterday took a big step in his football journey when he joined Belgian First Division club Charleroi Sporting Football Club from Slovenian club NK Domzale. The deal is guaranteed for four years.

The 22-year-old six-footer, who began his career with local club Boys’ Town before moving to Slovenia in 2017, was overjoyed by the big break. Nicholson completed a triangle of moves that saw the Ivory Coast’s Nicholas Pepe leave Lille for Arsenal to be replaced by Nigerian Victor Osimhen, who had spent the previous season on loan at Charleroi.

“I am excited about this opportunity with Charleroi Sporting Club,” said the player, who represented Trench Town High in the Manning Cup football competition.

“I put in a lot of work during the last two seasons playing in Slovenia with Domzale, and I’ve improved a lot as a result,” added the player, who scored 18 goals in 47 games for Domzale, 13 of which came last season.

“I know this next chapter will not be easy, but I’m ready for the challenge. Now I’m just looking forward to joining up with my new teammates and coaching staff so I can start working,” he continued.

Nicholson represented the country at the age-group levels before graduating to the national team in 2017. He has registered 12 caps for the Reggae Boyz, only scoring his first goal for the national team in a 1-0 win over the United States in June and following that up with two strikes in the recently ­concluded Gold Cup.

While playing in the top leagues in Europe was always a goal of his, Nicholson said that when he finally put pen to paper confirming the deal, the feeling was surreal.

“It was like I was in shock. I did not know how to express myself for a period of time. I could not believe that it had happened; it was just surreal,” he explained.

BACK TO REALITY

That feeling, Nicholson said, did not last too long as it was soon back to reality.

“This is a big opportunity but it is not the end. The journey continues, and it will mean a lot more hard work.”

Kevin Cowan, Nicholson’s agent, chimed in to echo the sentiment.

“This is a big opportunity for Shamar as the Belgian league is highly rated and highly visible throughout Europe, and though we are happy and will celebrate today, we know that the real work begins tomorrow,” said the man responsible for getting Nicholson his European break.

Cowan is not the only one responsible for Nicholson’s success so far, and the player made sure to recognise those who have contributed to his success.

“I would like to thank my ­boyhood club, Boys’ Town; all the players and staff of the club; and Domzale for taking me to Europe. I would also like to thank my ­family; my agent, Kevin Cowan; all my supporters; and a special mention to coach Andrew Price, who helped to keep me grounded; Leon ‘Mickey’ Hardware, the father of Jamiel, who brought me into the club as a 13-year-old; as well as my son, Shamar Jr, who came into my life and gave me the extra motivation,” he said.