Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson is pleased with the faith that the local football public and new head coach, Winfried Schäfer, has shown in him.
At the end of the day, though, Anderson believes it is all up to him to go out and prove his worth.
"I think the whole country believes in Tuffy, but it is not about the country, it is about Tuffy, and I have to go out there and do what it takes to please the country," Anderson shared.
"I know my job each day I turn out on the field. My job is just to score goals; I don't have any skill."
The 33-year-old striker was for months the centre of public debate, over whether or not he should be included in the country's World Cup Qualifying squad.
The situation even sparked small-scale demonstrations in the two cities - Kingston and Montego Bay, where he's from - by supporters, because of his continuous omission by former coach Theodore Whitmore, who also hails from Montego Bay.
The appointment of Schäfer in July brought about a change in fortunes for the country's local premier league leading scorer for the past few seasons, as he was called up for the squad to play against Panama and Costa Rica.
He did not even make the bench against Panama, but when given the chance on Tuesday night, he wasted little time in silencing his critics and giving his supporters something to cheer about.
Anderson, who came on as a 68th-minute substitute, came close with his first attempt in the 86th minute, before notching an equaliser for the Boyz in the 90+2 minutes.
The goal scored by Anderson was the first the team was scoring from open play in the eight games contested in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
"I think I put out a lot of work, and I think the coach has belief in me, and I have to give him thanks," Anderson said.
"I know I was not going to play in the Panama game, he told me to keep focused on the Costa Rica game. I stayed focused, as he gave me the time that I was going to go out on the field, and I kept cool and calm and hoped and when I got my chance I just grabbed it."
Anderson's doubters might have wondered why he was being introduced into the game when the team was trailing and desperately needed a win, with the likes of Theo Robinson, Ryan Johnson and Darren Mattocks on the bench. But there was some method to the madness, Schäfer explained.
"I know this player could change the match, especially for our supporters," Schäfer said. "The moment he (Anderson) comes in he gives our players a second power. If you notice, he made pressure and that's what I wanted.
"If I played Tuffy from the first minute, after 20 minutes I would have had to take him out, he would be finished and can't run, as he is not in season," Schäfer explained.
"Tuffy is a player (who) maybe he runs and the ball goes against his knee and it is a goal, he is a lucky man and that's what I want," the German coach outlined. "I am happy about him, that's why I take him in."