Positive vibes: Boyz striker Nicholson hoping to overcome bittersweet milestone with victory over Ecuador

By June 25, 2024
NICHOLSON...despite the loss (against Mexico), and we all have a positive mindset. NICHOLSON...despite the loss (against Mexico), and we all have a positive mindset.

For Shamar Nicholson, Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz 1-0 loss to Mexico in their Copa America opener was a bittersweet occasion, as that encounter marked his 50th international appearance for the country.

Though Nicholson would have loved to celebrate the significant milestone in victory, but it was not to be. As such, he was left ruing what could have been, as he reflected on his career journey which started at Trench Town High school, blossomed at Boys' Town Football Club, and he is now bearing fruit as one of Jamaica's top-rated strikers.

Across those 50 games, Nicholson has so far tallied 19 goals and won three medals –silver and the 2017 Caribbean Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup, and an historic bronze at 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League.

"Yeah, it was special moment," Nicholson declared in a recent interview with Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

"It's just a pity that we didn't get to win to make it more special, but it was a proud moment for me and my family, my friends, coaching staff, and everyone, who have supported me along the way during bad time and good time. So it was really a proud moment," he added.

Shamar Nicholson (right) and rising sensation Keheim Dixon.

Nicholson’s rise to becoming one of Jamaica's key players has been marked by determination and hard work. Though a man of few words, the 27-year-old's achievements on the international stage is a testament to his dedication and talent, as his true personality comes to light when the ball is at his feet.

Since making his debut in 2017, the towering striker has become a mainstay in the senior Reggae Boyz team, especially giving his scoring prowess and physical presence on the field, which makes him a constant threat to opponents.

In fact, it is for that reason why Nicholson has made the rounds at clubs in Slovenia, Belgium, Russia and now France. In Slovenia he scored 18 goals for Domzale, and later tallied 30 goals for Belgian outfit Charleroi. He later moved to Spartak Moscow, where he had eight goals and won the Russian Cup, before being loaned out to French Ligue 1 side Clermont, where has four goals to date.

Each league and club offered a different challenge, but for Nicholson, the experiences were worthwhile contributions to his development.

"Yes, I will say culture wise (France and Belgium are somewhat similar), but I think it was also a good experience, you know, because the level is high and really physical, and it also challenges you mentally. So I think it was a good experience and I learned a lot," Nicholson shared.

Despite the defeat to Mexico in keen contest where Michail Antonio had a goal ruled out for offside and the Boyz generally squandered a few good half chances.

While that result was not in their favour, Nicholson believes there were positives to take from the game, and, as such, he remains optimistic and focused on the challenges ahead, particularly the upcoming clash against Ecuador.

Shamar Nicholson celebrates with Reggae Boyz teammates.

He emphasized the importance of staying positive and focused, as the Heimir Hallgrimsson-coached Boyz hunt an historic first goal and, by extension, point at the prestigious Copa America tournament 

The Reggae Boyz have shown in previous tournaments that they can bounce back from setbacks, and Nicholson is confident they will do so again. Hallgrimsson’s side is currently at the foot of Group B without a point, a statistic they could very well change with victory over Ecuador on Wednesday at Allegiant Stadium.

They will then close out the group stage against current leaders Venezuela on Sunday.

“The vibe is right, you know, everyone is positive despite the loss (against Mexico), and we all have a positive mindset. So, it's just to take things step by step. You know, we prepare in training, so it's just to go there and believe, and I think we're ready for that game,” Nicholson ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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