Fate Grants’ Joel another chance to cement place with BoyzFriday, June 03, 2016
CHICAGO, Illinois — "Fate is what you are given. Destiny is what you make of it."
This appears to be a clichÃ© that best sums up the circumstances which surround Joel Grant, who rejoined the Reggae Boyz set-up here yesterday morning, merely two days ahead of their opening game in the Copa America Centenario.
Grant, the 28-year-old Exeter City frontman who plays on the wings, attacking midfield or forward, was called in as a late replacement for best friend Simon Dawkins, who was withdrawn due to a right groin injury.
"Always, anyone who knows me knows that playing for Jamaica means a lot to me and to be called back is great," a relieved Grant told the media shortly after his arrival at the Drake Hotel Oak Brook here.
"I was hoping for an opportunity, but unfortunately it’s come at some awkward circumstances as one of my best friends in the team happened to drop out, but hopefully for Simon it’s not a bad injury and he won’t be out fortoo long. And at the same time, it’s exciting for me to be recalled," beamed Grant.
Grant, who doubled Jamaica’s advantage in their surprise 2-1 victory over Chile inside Estadio Sausalito in ViÃ±a del Mar, Chile, two Fridays ago, coincidentally made that trip also as a late replacement for Dawkins, who withdrew four days prior to that game, with the same injury.
That player then made the long trip to South America the day before the game and was introduced at half-time ,where he made an immediate impact to head home Giles Barnes’ right-sided cross.
That, too, was special occasion for the London-born player. "Again, I sort of came to that game on short notice, really, again with Simon not being able to make it. I was called and to be honest I just wanted to get some minutes in the game because it was a long way to go to Chile and I was hopeful that I could just play some part of the game. And as it stands I happened to score the winning goal, which is an unbelievable feeling."
Grant explained that he is in good spirits and condition to take on this huge task, and no doubt he’s hoping for similar success.
"I feel good," he said. "When the provisional squad of 40 players was announced, I always said to myself that I have to work as hard, as possible in the off season so that I’m ready, and I have been working hard hoping that I would make the cut. (Initially) It wasn’t meant to be, but fortunately for me I kept myself fit and in condition just in case, and I suppose it helped because the final 23 wasn’t announced until late, which means I was fit and ready right up to the day when the squad was announced. So, along with last week’s game and hopefully with some training I will be ready for the tournament."
Fate has proven an ally to Grant not once, but twice, for this Copa America Centenario. Will he make the best of it for himself and Jamaica? Only time will tell.
— Ian Burnett
— Ian Burnett