Where are they now? : Horace 'Cement Kid' Samuels
In the mid-1980s to late 1990s, the name Horace ‘Cement Kid’ Samuels was a household name among football fans in Jamaica. Despite his diminutive size, he was feared by opposing strikers, who regularly felt the wrath of his robust tackles.
Samuels, a native of Lucea in Hanover, could be called a ‘double defender.’ In addition to his defensive skills on the football field, which won him a place on the national team, he was also a soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Today, Samuels, who played football at the under-14 and under-16 levels for Rusea’s, is back to civilian life, working as a security supervisor at the Grand Palladium Resort in his home parish.
While he no longer plays football, he still takes time out to share his knowledge of the sport with aspiring young footballers.
Samuels, whose football career blossomed while he was in the army, initially postponed his entry into military life after he was called up for national football duties. However, after one tour with the team, he fulfilled his ambition of becoming a soldier, while still continuing to represent the national team.
“In my time, the guys were not involved in a lot of drinking and smoking like now. It’s one reason why I don’t really go out to watch the domestic leagues,” said Samuels.
“The standard is really low, and it is not like you are going there to see anything exceptional.
“Right now, I am not really interested in the big men because the big men, you can’t coach them. You can only instruct them. But kids, you can coach them because they will listen to you ... . So they are the ones I would invest my time in,” added Samuels.
In reflecting on his early days in football, Samuels said that they used to invest in their own development, which gave their involvement in the game more meaning.
“When I was going to Rusea’s, we, as schoolboys, formed our own club, gave it a name, and paid our dues and did not wait on the coach in order to start training,” recalled Samuels.
“We had our own tag drives, walkathons, and all those things, and entered Hanover Division One as schoolboys. That is why Rusea’s, even though we did not win any championships in those days, had a huge pool of players to choose from within the parish. Nowadays, players wait on the coach to do everything.”
Samuels is from a family that has produced many footballers. There is hardly a season that a Samuels is not on the Rusea’s team.
Two of his brothers, Lucea’s current mayor, Councillor Sheridan ‘Worm’ Samuels, and Denton Samuels were good enough to be drafted into the national under-23 football at different times.