Daley delivers in heroic fashion
Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
National midfielder Keammar Daley was a hero from east and west on Monday night as he scored a fantastic goal at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex.
The 25-year-old scored the winning goal in the Red Stripe Premier League match between Tivoli Gardens and Waterhouse, which ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts. With that singular 85th minute strike, Daley confirmed Western Kingston's Tivoli Gardens' position in the top half of the table and gave the 'Stars of the East' Harbour View the breathing space that could later confirm them as champions.
With the win, Tivoli Gardens improved their points tally to 48 points, the same as Arnett Gardens, but with a superior goal difference, while Waterhouse remained on 53 points, nine less than Harbour View.
Additionally, the strike, which had former national goalkeeper Richard McCallum grasping at the air in a bid to save, could thrust the tidy creative midfielder back into the national consciousness. That is Daley's intention.
"That is why I am here playing, to get back into the national setup. Overseas was tough, not that I could not have made it but when you have different managers and different strategies, these things happen. But I am here playing as this is a route back to the national team," explained Daley, whose contract with British club Preston North End was terminated earlier this season, just shy of two years.
That termination was preceded by lengthy periods of inactivity at the club. His club inactivity ruled him out of the national frame as without matches he was not considered by the national coaching staff.
"There are a number of games left in this competition and my plan is to make the most of it so that I can be considered. It is up to the coaching staff if I am considered or not, but the only thing that I can do is work hard. They have the final say," said Daley, who last played with the Reggae Boyz in December 2012 at the Caribbean Cup held in Antigua.
Daley has represented and shone for Jamaica at the age group levels and was a key member of Jamaica's team which won the silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In that tournament in which Jamaica defeated fancied Latin American opposition, Daley was the team's leading scorer with four goals.
happy to deliver
Of Monday's victory, the former Jamaica College and Meadhaven star said he was happy to deliver for the team.
"Happiness is the feeling that I am feeling now. The team deserves this win and I am happy I could deliver," said the player at the end of the game as he was mobbed by fans, young and old.
Prior to him entering the field in the 65th minute the crowd called for Daley, chanting "we want 'Dada', we want 'Dada'" repeatedly. His entrance was greeted with a rousing reception, the type reserved for heroes.
Asked if he had planned on scoring the winner, the stockily-built player said he took the field with an open mind.
"Well you never know, but as an attacking player the intention is always to go out there and create or score to contribute to your team winning and that was the intention I went out there with.
"The opportunity to score presented itself and I made the most of it and I am thankful," Daley said.