I am a natural leader – Blake
Reggae Boyz captain confident ahead of Suriname challenge
ALEADER by nature, national senior team goalkeeper Andre Blake, who was appointed captain for Jamaica’s crucial Caribbean Cup qualifying match against Suriname at the National Stadium tomorrow at 6 p.m., says he is not the least bit fazed by the role. Blake will lead the team in the absence of the injured Je-Vaughn Watson, and the former Glenmuir High and Sporting Central ‘shot stopper’ says his intention is to always give his best effort for his country and help the team play with one aim. “Every time I represent the country I always give a hundred per cent on the pitch. That’s my objective. So it is an honour as a lot of people want to be in my position, and a lot of people think that they should be in my position, so when I get my chance I have to go out and prove that my selection is justified.” But despite the good feedback he has been getting from local football fans over the last year, Blake insists he is still a work in progress. “It’s great (being the number one goalkeeper) but it’s still work in progress, I am still a growing goalkeeper. Getting a lot of games has helped me to grow a lot and, hopefully, I can continue playing and develop into a goalkeeper that Jamaica can rely on for the next 10 years,” he continued.
However, Blake has been in the role of captain before and knows how to handle this pressure, and he says it will be business as usual for him. “I have been captain before but this is my first role as captain at the national level. It’s a privilege, it’s an honour, so my job now is to try and get the players on the same page so we can go out and do what we have to do. For me it’s no added pressure. I think I’m a leader, I don’t need to go out and do anything out of the norm to put additional pressure, I will just be me, as I have been a leader all my life. “They (Suriname) are a good team and we will have to respect that. We cannot take them lightly, because if we take them lightly it could cost us because. ‘“These days, anybody can beat anybody on any given day. But that is one of my responsibilities, to let the players know that this is a war, we are the champions of the Caribbean, and everyone wants to beat us, so it’s about being focused and going out and giving our best. Hopefully, we can correct that and start better.”