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Wearing Whitmore's number a dream - Stevens

Published:Monday | May 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Stevens

Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

The Reggae Boyz number 11 shirt appears to be in good hands, as its new owner, Errol Stevens, continues to impress at each opportunity.

Stevens proved a game changer in the team's 1-0 win over Guyana at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Friday evening, as the second-half substitute was responsible for creating the game's lone goal, which was scored by debutant Jeremie Lynch in the 62nd minute.

Aside from his part in the goal, Stevens tormented the Golden Jaguars on the right side of the park, as they found it difficult to contain him to the point where his shirt was torn and had to be replaced.

A great honour

The Reggae Boyz number 11 shirt was made famous by the team's current head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, who ghosted past opposing players with consummate ease during his playing career. He, however, reached legendary status during the 1998 FIFA World Cup when he scored two goals to earn Jamaica its first victory at the tournament; a 2-1 victory over Japan.

"It's like a dream come true, even to wear the number 11," Stevens shared immediately following the game. "I remember marking the number 11 on my shirt with Whitmore in the back, so it is like a dream come true to be wearing it and playing for the country," he added while pointing out how honoured he feels to have Whitmore as his coach.

"It is a great motivation; I hope he knows the respect that I have for him, but at the same time it has to be kept professional, so I try to just stick to the work and do the job."

Stevens, who made his debut for Jamaica in the 2-0 loss to Colombia on September 6, 2011, was pleased with his performance in Friday's game, as he aims to thrill local fans.

Giving his best

"I just have to thank God for the performance. I think more than anything it is the hunger inside of me that just wants to come outside and with the environment and the spectators and the people who came out to support Jamaica, I could only do my best," the 26-year-old shared.

The former Greater Portmore High School student is hoping that based on his showing he will make the final squad, which Whitmore plans on naming today, for the next stage of World Cup qualifying, which commences on June 8 when Guatemala visits the National Stadium.

Stevens has played for local clubs, Harbour View, Tivoli Gardens, Portmore United and Arnett Gardens, as well as, Russian Premier League side FC Khimki and most recently Vietnamese outfit Hanoi FC.

"I am a free agent at the moment, as right now it is mainly about the national programme and to give the best to my country."

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com