'I am happy he's okay!'

'I am happy he's okay!'

Lawrence expresses sympathy for virus-infected Mariappa; says it's a wake-up call for all

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sport Editor

Friday, May 22, 2020

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Reggae Boyz ace Kemar “Taxi” Lawrence says the news of teammate Adrian Mariappa testing positive for coronavirus is a poignant reminder that no one is safe from the deadly virus.

The Watford defender was on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19, along with two staff members, in a massive testing drive as English Premier League players and staff prepared to go back to work.

Mariappa, 33, appeared surprised by his positive result in an interview with British tabloid The Telegraph.

“Ever since I got my positive result back on Tuesday, I've been scratching my head to try to work out how I might have got coronavirus.

“It was a big surprise because I haven't really left the house, apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids,” he was quoted as saying.

Mariappa's Boyz teammate, Lawrence, who is trapped in Belgium and who claims he's doing his best to escape COVID-19's long reach, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday he was relieved that his fellow defender is not showing any debilitating signs related to his positive test result.

“My first reaction, honestly, is that I am happy that he is okay, and happy that he is not showing any symptoms, but it just goes to show you that anybody can catch it.

“We know that he is following the rules and he is on the same routine every day, and for something like this to happen it's just unfortunate. I am wishing him a swift recovery,” said Lawrence.

The explosive left back, who recently struck a deal with Belgium giant Anderlecht from New York Red Bulls, says Mariappa's story should be a wake-up call for all Jamaican players plying their trade overseas.

“We are all aware that this is a virus that attacks every and anybody…once you come in contact with someone who has it, it will attack you as there isn't anyone who is immune to this virus.

“So I know that my Jamaican teammates understand what this virus is and its capability, so it's not something you can really run and hide from because you have to go to the supermarket to buy food and you don't know if you are going to touch a can that somebody who has it already touched,” noted Lawrence.

“But I believe that when you are in that physical shape and your body is healthy, I feel like the effects are less and you won't get as many symptoms as other people, if any at all,” he added.

The 27-year-old, a former Harbour View FC standout, says professional sport people, and footballers in particular, stake a lot to eke out a living from their God-given talent.

“Sometimes people don't know what we [professional players] have to go through to put food on the table, but this is the life we chose. The Boyz, I know, have a strong mentality as individuals and this is part of the reason why they are where they are and this is one of the reasons why they are playing overseas — whether in the cold, in storms, it doesn't matter the weather, the time of the year — the work must go on some way somehow because this is what we get paid to do,” he reasoned.

There are many Jamaican players trapped in various parts of a COVID-19-ravaged world, particularly in Europe and the United States.

“Everybody who I have spoken to are in good health and are staying positive,” Lawrence noted.

With the season in Belgium cancelled, Lawrence and Boyz teammate Shamar Nicholson, who plays for R Charleroi SC, are trying desperately to get out of Europe with the hope of eventually returning home to Jamaica.

“Our teams have given us the time to leave, and we now have to look at what's going on in our country.

“I spoke to Shamar [Nicholson], but right now we are just looking at flights, but because of what's happening in Jamaica we cannot get any flights home, so maybe I will just go to my apartment in New York and to stay for a week or so to see if and when things change in Jamaica,” said Lawrence.

At press time yesterday, global coronavirus figures stood at over 5,164,133 confirmed cases and 332,706 deaths. The USA led the chart with 1,612,466 infections and 95,924 deaths.


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