Arnett Gardens striker Malcolm set for El Salvador moveThursday, February 25, 2021
Arnett Gardens Football Club (AGFC) has secured a loan deal for their top striker Kemal Malcolm to join El Salvador Premier League professional team, Deportiva Chalatenango.
A member of the senior Reggae Boyz, Malcolm is a champion footballer who twice won the National Premier League title at Arnett Gardens. He will be engaged with Deportiva Chalatenango until the end of the 2020-21 football season.
“It is a very good opportunity for me to go to El Salvador and establish myself,” said Malcolm.
“It is a stepping stone,” he added. “My aim is to go there, do well and hopefully another door will open from there.”
With football competitions in Jamaica suspended from March 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity comes at a very good time for not only Malcolm, but the Jamaica senior team, as another player will be engaged in topflight competition ahead of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying.
Malcolm, who is popularly known as “Tul”, had got some useful match practice with the Reggae Boyz on their recent Asian tour, as he played in both international friendlies against Saudi Arabia, which saw Jamaica losing 1-3, then turning the tables 2-1.
He earned a spot in the Jamaica team on the basis of his consistently good showing for Arnett Gardens, for whom he was scoring quite frequently and among the league leaders prior to the COVID shutdown. At the time, Malcolm had scored 12 goals, the joint leading tally for the 2020-21 competition alongside Dean-Andre Thomas, Colorado Murray and Chevonne Marsh.
In fact, Marsh was earlier drafted by Deportiva Chalatenango this season along with former Arnett Gardens striker Craig Foster, Malcolm becomes the third Jamaican to join the Central American franchise.
Arnett Gardens expressed joy at the opportunity afforded Malcolm and noted that it fits their overall business goal of selling players.
“He opens doors for other Arnett Gardens players to move to the next level. That is our aim at the club right now, that is the vision, to get players overseas,” said Alex Thomas, head coach of south St Andrew-based outfit.
“I'm overwhelmed, I'm very proud of him. He has done well for himself in the 2019-20 season, although it is a short stint for the league. He was the player who was carrying the bulk (of the attacking), scoring week in, week out for our team,” Thomas added.
A skilful and very speedy striker, the 31-year-old Malcolm joined Arnett Gardens in the 2012-13 Premier League campaign and has played a major role in the club's two title triumphs since. He has scored 44 goals in 75 appearances for the club.
“[He] earned a call to the Jamaica setup and I'm very proud of him, especially at his age right now. It is second to none,” Thomas noted.
“I'm very proud of him as a member of the Arnett Gardens family. I know he will go there and do his best and represent the red and black right out,” said Thomas, referencing Arnett Gardens FC's club colours.
Malcolm was also a member of multiple winning teams at St George's College. He also attended and played football at the University of Tampa and scored heavily while representing teams in the Florida area, with Canyon Mavericks and Tampa Spartans, before a campaign at Premier League club Waterhouse, where he recorded seven goals in 19 appearances.
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