REGGAE Boy Shamar Nicholson says he wants to be an inspiration to others after he made history on Sunday, becoming the first Jamaican footballer to make an appearance in France's Ligue 1 top-flight competition.
The 26-year-old forward was a second-half substitute for Clermont Foot as they went down 0-1 to visitors FC Nantes at Stade Gabriel Montpied.
"Being the first Reggae Boy to appear in a French Ligue 1 match, I'm proud of the accomplishment," Nicholson said in a statement.
"Maybe in 10 to 15 years people will be able to look back and appreciate the journey I've taken. In this moment, though, I'm just hopeful that the younger Jamaican footballers coming up can use my journey as an example of what's possible when you are willing to work hard and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to pursue your dreams," he added.
Moses Simon scored the winner for Nantes but the result could have been a lot different for Clermont as Nicholson, who was behind a few threatening moments after entering the fray in the 62nd minute, won a penalty kick deep in stoppage time. However, Muhammed-Cham Saracevic missed from the spot as Clermont went down to their fourth loss of the campaign.
The defeat left Clermont 17th in the 18-team standing, with a solitary point from five league matches.
While disappointed with the outcome Nicholson noted the positives as the team, which finished eighth in Ligue 1 last season, looks to recover from a patchy start to the 2023-24 campaign.
"Though ultimately it is not the result we wanted as a team, I'm grateful to have made my Ligue 1 debut. The team showed a lot of character and we fought together to the final whistle," he said.
The Jamaican international, who featured for the Reggae Boyz in Concacaf Nation League home matches against Honduras and Haiti recently, played in Russia for top division club Spartak Moscow before making the loan move to France over two weeks ago.
Nicholson played for Boys' Town FC in the local premier league before moving to Domzale in Slovenia. He later joined Sporting Charleroi in Belgium, followed by the switch to Spartak Moscow. He won the Russian Cup during his spell with Spartak.