“He was everything for me”: The story behind Beqa’s celebrations

He’s the international signing who’s already been making a name for himself across the league largely thanks to his fantastic goal-scoring record.  

Beqa Mikeltadze joined the Jets during pre-season on a two-season deal and has already placed himself in the Club record books after equalling Joel Griffiths’ efforts in 2008 of five straight goalscoring appearances.

While there’s been a variety of ways that the Georgian Gun has scored his goals this season – poaching efforts in the box, spectacular volleys, direct strikes from free-kicks and clinical goals from the penalty spot – one constant that is seen is his finger and head pointed to the sky in celebration.

With his limited knowledge of English, the 24-year-old striker chatted through translation about the reason behind the now-iconic celebration – his late father.

On the eve of the 2021/22 Season, tragedy struck Beqa’s family as his father suddenly passed. Due to COVID and the landscape of the world at the time, he wasn’t able to return home and courageously still laced up the boots to face the Mariners in Round One.

Since then, Mikeltadze has been extra motivated to play for his hero, and pays tribute to him each time he finds the back of the net.

“I don’t like to talk about it. It was so hard,” Mikeltadze said.

“For the first few days, I couldn’t think about anything else. My father was everything for me… He was my coach, my friend, and my advisor. My father was everything for me.

“He wanted me to play football, so each day when I wake up, I tell myself to I have to play for him. I always feel him with me, and of course every one of my goals I score is for him.”

“I am who I am now because of my father.”

From a very young age, Mikeltadze has always been football-focused – just one of the traits instilled in him by his father – and his drive for perfection is something that is seen on the training and matchday pitch, and motivates his teammates.

“He [his father] was very influential for me,” Mikeltadze said. “Not just in a career way, but in a personal way as well.

“I love what I am doing. Football has always been my big passion. This is the way I grew up.

“I think every component of my game can improve and get better. That’s what I aim for. We are all working hard to be better every game.”

During our 2-2 draw with Macarthur a weekend ago, Mikeltadze managed to find the back of the net from the penalty spot, bringing up his eighth goal for the Club in just his 11th game, but it was what happened after the goal that really stole headlines across the country.

A pre-prepared shirt featuring the Ukraine flag and a blue and yellow heart was showcased to the crowd and placed on the surrounding sponsor’s board.

Growing up in the small Georgian town of Samtredia, Mikeltadze and his family experienced hardships, including an invasive attack in 2008, where his homeland was under attack – a situation similar to the one Ukraine are currently experiencing at current.

“We had a very similar situation in Georgia and I know how hard it is,” he said.

“I have lots of Ukrainian friends and all I can do now is to show my love and solidarity to all the Ukraine people

“Growing up in Georgia was not easy, we endured lots of hard times. It’s a long story, but I am very proud of where I come from.

“I am happy the people of Australia understand and that they, and the rest of the world, are supporting Ukraine as well.”

With one of the better strike rates in the competition, the striker is well-amongst the race for the Golden Boot, and currently sits in second place behind Jamie Maclaren.

His great form throughout the first half of the season has had fans talking, and he puts it down to the style of play the team and the type of role Manager Arthur Papas has him playing.

“I’m just doing what the coach asks of me,” he said.

“My focus is to just help the team as much as I can. That is everyone’s focus though – we all try to help each other. I try to find the right spaces and utilise the right tactics to help bring goals.

“It’s a very interesting style of football, and I am really enjoying being part of the team.

“Plus, this place is beautiful, the coaching staff are amazing and putting all this together has worked well for me.”