Home - The Star
March 19, 2013
Star Sport


Beckford eyeing a goal rush
Marc Stamp, STAR Writer

Jermaine Beckford during the Reggae Boyz training at the University of the West Indies yesterday. - Ricardo Makyn

Huddersfield striker Jermaine Beckford says he is fit and ready for CONCACAF World Cup qualification battle against Panama on Friday at the National Stadium. Match time is 8:30 p.m.

Beckford could make his international debut for Jamaica after he was replaced in the squad that played against Mexico last month at the high altitude Azteca Stadium.

The 29-year-old was ruled out after sustaining a hamstring injury in an English Championship game against Crystal Palace late January.

Having recovered from injury, Beckford played the last 20 minutes for his club against Leeds United on Saturday. That was his first game since the injury that kept him out for six weeks. Now Beckford says he is ready for battle.

"I played on Saturday for about 20 minutes against Rodolph Austin (Reggae Boy) at Leeds and it felt good. Now I am fit, ready and confident. I can't wait to score goals for Jamaica," he told STAR Sports, at the Reggae Boyz's first training session since regrouping, at UWI yesterday.

"Nobody has high expectations than I have for myself in terms of coming out and putting on a performance, and do what I have to do in the game," Beckford confidently stated.

Although this is Beckford's first time with the Jamaica senior team, he has played with and against some of them in England and he has spoken to the others.

"I am really excited about getting out there with them and add to what they are doing and what they have done so far," he added.

Beckford also spoke highly about his new teammates.

"The guys are brilliant. It's amazing. We are all in it together. We have the same common goals. We are on our way, exactly where we want to be. We know where we are and we know how to get there," said Beckford, who arrived in the island with other Reggae Boyz on Sunday.

He revealed that he watched the opening game in the CONCACAF World Cup final round qualifiers against Mexico, while he was in England recuperating from the injury. Jamaica battled to a hard fought 0-0 scoreline, which was the first time they gained a point in Mexico in a World Cup qualifier.

"The game against Mexico was very good. I was impressed. Everything was spot on. I was a little bit disheartened not to be there. We were unfortunate not to have won the game, as we had some good chances to score. Any other day we would have beaten them 2-0 or 3-0. It was just one of those days," Beckford said.

Reggae Boyz (from left): Britain-based Theo Robinson, United States-based Jermaine Taylor, local schoolboy Alvas Powell and United States-based Jevaughn Watson in training yesterday at the Jamaica Football Federation training centre at the University of the West Indies. The players are preparing for Friday's CONCACAF final round World Cup Qualifier against Panama at the National Stadium. The game will kick off at 8:30 p.m. - Ricardo Makyn

"Nobody has high expectations than I have for myself in terms of coming out and putting on a performance, and do what I have to do in the game," Beckford confidently stated.

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