Frustrated Daley looks to rebound from English League nightmare
DEEP BAY, Antigua — Even with his best efforts, Keammar Daley couldn't hide it.
Trying to keep a straight face in masking what it is that has caused the young man such pain, was an exercise in futility. Daley's tone and general aura were too overwhelming and gave it all away.
He is being pushed under by a wave of frustration, but by his sheer inner-strength, he keeps his head above water.
It's every young footballer's dream to play in the proverbial 'big league'. But as experience has taught, life at the top is not always rosy and often comes with a price.
Daley, the former Meadhaven and Tivoli Gardens star, is getting paid at his English League One Club Preston North End (PNE) for just sitting around. He hates the feeling.
While the diminutive forward/midfielder gives a hundred and more per cent in training, does the bidding of the coach, exhibits exemplary team spirit and commitment, it still aint enough.
When Daley, 24, left Jamaica for PNE hopes were high in some quarters that this could be the ball handler's big break. He himself thought he was on his way. And he was, until Graham Wesley took over from Phil Brown at Deepdale.
And Daley's nightmarish life at the League One outfit unfolded.
"Most definitely, I am frustrated. For any player that would be frustrating... there is nothing that I can say I have fallen short on why I am not playing... he (Wesley) spoke to me at the end of last season and he told me that I am a good player and that he never saw me enough so he's going to go with the players he knows.
"With all of that I have trained well, and I have played in friendlies and other games, and I still have not got a look in, not even to go on the bench with the hopes of getting a five or 10 minutes so I can show him that I have what it takes," said the disheartened Daley, who is here with the Reggae Boyz in the defence of their Caribbean title.
But the star of Jamaica's silver medal-winning 2007 PanAm Games team bit his lips and kept the disappointment bottled up, all in the name of professionalism.
"I realise that's just part of the football world... we have a new management, (therefore) new rules and changes which are very frustrating... as far as I know it's like... there is nothing there for me... I haven't had a chance, only to play few friendly games. That's it. I have not had any regular competition games, so all I am trying right now is to get a new team, and hopefully with the January window coming up, something favourable can happen for me, and yes, I would love to stay in England and further my career," Daley told the Jamaica Observer.
Since Wesley took over PNE late last year, Daley has played only two competitive games — one a local Cup match and a friendly. Under Brown, who signed him for two years after a successful trial stint, Daley had 12 first-team matches.
Daley's time of famine at PNE has taught him valuable lessons which help him prepare for greater things that he thinks will come.
"One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that football is good business, but you can also get a lot of bad happenings and that taught me never to take life for granted, as this minute you could be in a team and the next, a new management comes in and everything changes around you.
"In other words you could be in England one minute and in Jamaica the next because of these changes, but you have to take these experiences as stepping stones and you will now have to find that extra gear to move on because it makes no sense to keep dwelling on the fact that you are not playing, even if you could be doing everything right, but once the manager thinks you are not his player and that he's going to use his players, then you have to just accept it as a man and keep your shoulders and head up and keep going," said the forlorn Jamaican midfielder.
Daley said the Caribbean Cup couldn't come at a better time and he intends to maximise the opportunity to regain his best match form to help his team to defend the title and he's also eyeing a spot in the squad for the CONCACAF final round in the Mission to Rio campaign.
"This tournament is a boost for me because this was the tournament when I played the first time. I had an amazing run, and hopefully this time I can go as well and even better and that I can help the team to do well and even retain the title.
"I am definitely short on match practice as I have only played two competitive games (this season) and that will always be a factor to the coaching staff, but they understand and that's why they are giving me this chance to assess me and that hopefully I can regain some form in this tournament," said the former Jamaica College player.
Many football pundits and close watchers of the game have often argued that the rugged English game, especially evident in the lower leagues, does not suit the sublime style of Daley. He agrees, but only to a point.
"I agree with that to some extend, but as a player sometimes you have to adjust yourself, because you are in that environment. As they say, when you go to Rome you have to do what the Romans do, and you go and try and it doesn't work out in your favour," Daley explained.
With all that he has been through, 'Dada' has not lost faith in the 'Man' upstairs.
"I never lost focus as I know what I want. I remember where I am coming from and know what it's like in Jamaica, so you have to always keep your level high... you don't want to go up there and then go back down, at the same time you know that sometimes in life you have to restart from scratch to get a good construction and hopefully God has something good out there waiting for me. I know He does," he concluded.
Daley has been capped some 11 times for the senior Jamaica team with two goals to his name, according to Wikipedia.com.