I am a nat­u­ral leader – Blake

Reg­gae Boyz cap­tain con­fi­dent ahead of Suri­name chal­lenge

Jamaica Gleaner - - SATURDAY - Liv­ingston Scott Gleaner Writer

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.

PRES­SURE

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.”

BLAKE

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