Hector dreams of Gold Cup crown, World Cup qualificationSaturday, July 17, 2021
BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
ORLANDO, USA — Michael Hector will be the first to tell you he is not the perfect footballer.
But what is without doubt is his unbridled desire to do well for his country as Jamaica pursue twin goals of winning the Concacaf Gold Cup and qualifying for Fifa Qatar World Cup 2022.
The 28-year-old defender, who has played over 34 games for Jamaica, has set himself a few personal targets, which overlap those of the entire team.
“It [winning the Gold Cup] would mean everything to me… it would be history and that's the personal goal I have set myself, and that is not to say I have not set other goals with Jamaica,” Hector told the Jamaica Observer.
The Fulham man says his burning passion in representing Jamaica is shared by his family, who gives him limitless support as he chases his dreams for club and country.
“For me and my family, it would be a proud moment [to win the Gold Cup], and no one has ever done it, so why can't we be the first?” Hector said.
“With the group of players we have, we fancy our chances to go very deep in the tournament. Obviously, in tournament football you can't think too far ahead as you have got to take it game by game,” he added.
Hector, who has had a loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga, says the mood in the camp is uplifting and creates an atmosphere ripe for success.
“The vibe in the camp is good and everyone seems to be pulling in the same direction, so everything seems to be good so far,” he noted.
“Of course, we have to respect every opponent we play, and we have to do the right things each game [if we want to be successful],” Hector added.
But while lifting the Gold Cup trophy is the immediate pursuit, there is a bigger prize that has kept the towering utility player hooked on Jamaica.
“That [playing in World Cup] is the reason why I represented Jamaica so young in my career, and I have always represented my country with pride, and I have always turned up.
“That's the [ultimate] goal for me and my family to play in a World Cup for Jamaica, and if that's possible in Qatar, then myself and my family would be very proud,” said the English-born professional.
Looking back on the Boyz's opening Gold Cup Group C 2-0 win over Surname, Hector gave his rating of the team's performance. But not only that, he did not spare judgement on his own performance in the defensive midfield role on Monday night.
“Obviously in the first half we played well, and in the second half we could have played better, but it was good to get the result. Also, I thought we could have scored more goals than we did, but obviously, we have not played together for a long time.
“For me, personally, I think [my performance] was average, but steady… I think when I needed to do my job, I did. But I wouldn't say there was anything fantastic, but a steady performance,” Hector noted.
He said he was not yet at his best as he did not see much action for Fulham last season, but he hopes that as the Gold Cup progresses, he will get better all round.
“For me, I have not played much football last season, and before coming to [Jamaica] camp we had just started pre-season, so I am hoping to build up my fitness. So, for me, I know as the tournament goes on, I will get better and fitter with each game.
“Last season was not a great one for me, as I didn't play as many games that I thought I would have, and obviously the team didn't do well on the pitch, so it wasn't a great season for me, but that is part and parcel of football,” Hector said.
Fulham finished 18th in the English Premier League and were relegated to the championship, the second tier of British football.
The Boyz came from behind to defeat Guadeloupe 2-1 in their second match last evening, propelling them to the quarter-final round.