Football ''mad' countries inspire Priestly

January 11, 2016
Ian Allen/Staff Photographer Harbour View's Akeem Priestley (right) watches Tivoli Gardens' Jerry Walters control the ball in the Digicel Premier League in 2013.

ALMOST a decade after playing the last game of his six games for the Reggae Boyz, midfielder Akeem Priestly still has hopes of representing his country.

The former Harbour View player, just completed the Guatemala top-flight season with Antigua GFC, playing a starring role in their first ever championship.

The well-traveled player, who made his senior international debut at 19 against Guatemala, believes he has something to offer at the international level and is playing well enough to earn a recall.

"At one point (Winfried) Schafer saw one of my videos and showed interest but I didn't hear anything.

"The older me has learned a whole heap more, is smarter and more experienced. It's just to get the opportunity," Priestly, who turns 31 in April told STAR Sports.

Priestly spent the last five years abroad plying his trade in Azerbaijan, United States, Finland and Bangladesh and he thinks playing for the national team would give his family a chance to see him perform in person.

"That is something I look forward to but it's up to them (selectors)," he said.

The flamboyant playmaker was a crowd favourite in Guatemala and found the experience of playing in football mad countries such as Guatemala inspiring.

He encouraged local players to try to break into the international market.

"Because you are playing in a country where the people love football your game goes up, just because of the energy. Those things motivate me. If nobody is in the stands you won't have any motivation. Apart from Arnett Gardens or Waterhouse you don't really get that vibes when you are playing here.

"Any player who used to play overseas and comes back here can tell you it's a different feeling when you are lacing up your boots.

"Not to knock Jamaica's football, but it's the reality," he said.

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