Mariappa not ready to leave Reggae Boyz
Don't blow the whistle on Adrian Mariappa's international career just yet. The 36-year-old veteran says he is still ready and willing to answer the cause for Jamaica in the twilight of his career but is also happy to guide the younger Reggae Boyz into the fold, with a firm belief in their potential.
Mariappa served as captain for the two-game international series against Trinidad and Tobago, in which they lost the first game 1-0 in Montego Bay and drew the second game 0-0 on Tuesday at the National Stadium.
With players such as Dujuan Richards, Tyler Roberts and Dexter Lembikisa making their first appearances for the senior team, Mariappa has enjoyed the role he now serves to guide the young Boyz into the fold.
"For me, it is about setting a good example around the place if they need help with any little bits in their game. Anything that I see, I lend my opinion to them as well. They are all very talented, so it's about trying to help them," Mariappa said.
The two games were used as an audition for this summer's Gold Cup tournament as well as Jamaica's upcoming Concacaf Nations League finale against Mexico in Mexico City on March 26.
Mariaappa says that he feels he can still contribute to the team under his new head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson and believes it would not be prudent to waste the conditioning and fitness he still enjoys.
"While I am in good condition and feeling good, it doesn't make sense to waste that. I just take it game by game. You can't play forever, but I'm feeling good still. I feel like my person is still for the team and I feel that I can still add to the group. If any of that changes then things will change," Mariappa said.
He is not taking his role lightly in this camp, hoping to pay it forward like Ricardo Fuller, Marlon King, Claude Davis and Damion Stewart did for him when he first joined the squad in 2012. Whether on the pitch or in another capacity, he is hoping he can contribute in any way to make Jamaica's World Cup dreams for 2026 a reality.
"I love it. There is no better feeling. It is the highest honour in football, and I would love to be a part of that, whether that is on the pitch or be a part of actually getting us to the World Cup," Mariappa said.