Sports

Michael Hector fans flame of World Cup dream

...Boyz defender pleased with start to 'Wednesday' loan spell

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sport Editor

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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It's hard to second-guess Michael Hector's commitment to Jamaica's Reggae Boyz.

The defender says it's been a lifelong dream of his to go all the way with Jamaica to another senior men's World Cup. The Boyz, in their solitary appearance to the game's showpiece, did so at France '98.

“The reason why I chose to play for Jamaica is because of my father and his side of the family, so from a young age I told myself that only one country I would play for, and that Jamaica,” the towering central defender told the Jamaica Observer recently.

“It's my dream to play in a World Cup for Jamaica and that is never going to change, but it is now for us to get the consistency in our performances and we can do it,”said the Chelsea FC player, who is currently on a loan spell at English Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

The England-born Hector has 22 caps for the Boyz since first donning the Jamaican colours back in 2015, when he was a regular in the starting line-up of the team that created history by reaching the Concacaf Gold Cup final of that year.

At last year's edition, the Boyz also made the final of Concacaf's marquee competition, but Hector was not a part of that unit which was made up exclusively of Jamaican-born players.

In the 2015 final Jamaica lost 1-3 to Mexico, and 1-2 to the USA in 2017.

Hector, 26, has returned to the Boyz fold in the ongoing Concacaf Nations League qualifying tournament and played in the last game against Bonaire in Curacao on Sunday, but was sent off for a second bookable offense late in the contest.

At the point of his sending off in 90th+ minutes, Jamaica had already sewn up their 6-0 win over the minnows of Caribbean football.

“I should have acted differently from the way I did, but I was caught up in the emotions of the game,” said Hector in response to his send-off for dissent by the Guyanese referee Sherwin Moore.

The former Reading FC player's frustration came to a boil when he had a goal disallowed, plus the numerous fouls against his teammates that the referee waved away. Some of these were clear fouls inside the 18-yard box.

On the professional front, Hector is pleased with how his one-year loan stint at Sheffield Wednesday has started. The lanky player has been unsuccessful in getting playing time at English giants Chelsea, but has kept his career active with loans spells around Britain and over in Germany.

“My first few weeks at Sheffield (Wednesday) have been very good and I have settled in... I am on loan from Chelsea for the season, and it's about getting down and playing week in and week out as it has been hard to get opportunities at Chelsea, and that's why you have to look elsewhere to get playing time.

“Since joining Sheffield Wednesday, I have played about three or four 90-minute games that have benefited me a lot,” said Hector who had a loan spell with Championship outfit last season playing 36 games.

Of all his loan experiences, the 2016/2017 season with Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt ranks high with Hector.

“Playing in Germany was an eye-opener. The whole football culture is so different, it's unbelievable, and the fans are just crazy... for me, growing up in England you think the fans there are the best, but for me the German fans hands down are the best fans I have seen.

“The atmosphere they create with their singing is something else and it's easy to see 40,000; 50,000; 60,000 or even 70,000 fans coming out to support games,” Hector told the Observer.

Plying in the German Cup final, he shared, was the highlight of his 22-match sojourn to continental Europe. In that game, Borussia Dortmund clipped Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1.

“Germany was a great experience overall and, obviously, playing in the German Cup final tops it all; And before I never dreamed I would play in this final, but it was an opportunity that I loved, though it was sad to lose the game,” Hector ended.

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