Sports

The bitter sweet of Serbia

New Boy Lambert says trial at FC Vojvodina an eye opener

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sport Editor

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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LES TROIS-ILETS, Martinique — In one moment, Kevon Lambert was getting love from all sides on his trial with First Division Serbian outfit FC Vojvodina.

And in the next, he was on a plane home after failing to land a deal with the Eastern European club following a three-month trial stint.

The 20-year-old Montego Bay United midfielder/defender has taken a mature outlook, preferring to use the experience as a source of motivation as he continues to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

“That did not demotivate me as I am a strong player and wouldn't let a little thing like that (failing to land a deal) get me down, it is more something that will let me work harder,” he told the Jamaica Observer at Hotel Bakoua yesterday.

“I was there for three months and I must say that it has been a great experience playing in a different environment and learning different playing styles from different coaches… I have to say I have learnt a lot and have improved on some of my weaker areas, although there is still room for improvement,” Lambert said.

He said the experience living among the Serbian people and getting a taste of their culture will be a lasting memory. Lambert said the way the town folk of the northern province of Vojvodina embraced him has warmed his heart.

“The people in Serbia are very nice, first of all from they hear that you are from Jamaica, they welcome you and make you feel at home as everyone knows Bob Marley and Usain Bolt and they always want to find out about our culture, so everyone just gravitated towards me,” he noted.

Even though at first he felt the bug of homesickness, he quickly brushed it aside and kept his focus on the business at hand.

“At first I felt like that (homesick), but I am always prepared for those situations. If one wants to be a professional player you have to be prepared for things like those, so I didn't let that bother me,” Lambert shared.

In his three months in Serbia, which ended recently, the robust player said he had the benefit of playing in a number of friendly games for the club, efforts he thought were “good”.

“When I was there the season was almost finished, but there were some friendly games that were very competitive and I was included in those games.

“In the first month I was there, everything was going well with the coach who was there and I was expected to sign in the transfer window, and then they changed the coach.

“It was going well with the new coach and recently they changed the coach again, because at this club it seems if the team loses one or two games, they want a change of coach, so they have gone through three coaches in the space of three months,” Lambert stated.

He noted that the last coach had his own ideas, which were clearly different from those of the previous two, and so life became difficult for the former Glenmuir High School star.

“The last coach who came in didn't seem to have much interest in me because even when I am performing well he is not giving me the rating, but I know that is part of the professional world,” Lambert said, taking the high ground on the snub.

The daCosta Cup winner with Glenmuir in 2012, and who is in Martinique with the senior Reggae Boyz for the CFU Men's Caribbean Cup, prefers to market himself as a player who likes to impose himself on games.

“I see myself as a player who would command a game, and when things not going the way of my team, I am the player who will fight to get things going our way, plus I like to just do the simple things.

“Also I think I am strong with my passing, tackling and challenging for the ball in the air,” asserts Lambert.

The former Jamaica Under-20 representative, who has one cap for the senior Boyz in a 1-0 friendly win over Honduras in Texas in February, points to the value of that experience and how it has shaped him to this point.

“It has prepared me mentally because since playing that first game I have gained more confidence, so I would say that first game has helped me a lot,” he noted.

And Lambert wants more, and he hopes the defence of the Caribbean Cup title will afford the opportunity to cement his place in the team as the Boyz head off for the CONCACAF Gold in the USA July 7-26.

“I would just like to win this competition with the team first of all and to help the team go further where we want to reach, and I realise we have to take it one step at a time and we have to work as a unit to make it happen,” he expressed.

Like most, if not all, starry-eyed football dreamer, Lambert wants his game to take him on the grandest professional stages.

“I want to play in one of those top countries in Europe where the highest level of football is being played like in England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain… every player's dream is to reach that level,” he said.

Manchester United's French star Paul Pogba inspires Lambert.

“I like Paul Pogba because I think I am a little similar to him and I think I am a good passer of the ball like him,” he said self-assuredly.

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