|Now it’s the boys’ time|
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: May 31, 2012
There is little doubt that the group of young male soccer players, headed to Orlando this weekend, will leave it all on the field in hopes of impressing national team Head Coach Kevin Davies.
A 26-member squad will be shaved to 18 shortly after the group returns from the warm-up matches in Orlando, designed to provide the national team with some action before playing in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Under-17 Boys World Cup Qualifier. Out of the 26 players headed to Orlando, two teams will be selected to compete in four games that are planned. The teams will play Friday and Saturday.
Davies said: “This is not the team that will be going to Cuba, for the qualifier. This is the traveling team and it is necessary so we can do an assessment of the players and they can get some international exposure. It is an opportunity for them to see the level of competition and how high it would be when they go to Cuba.
“This is the first time for most of them. We need to work on a number of things, especially getting them to play together as a team because they come from different teams and have different styles of play – getting them fit, so they can be aware of the conditions they would face in Cuba. We want them to understand the level of competition that they will see. They need to know that what they are used to here, is not what they are going to see when they are in Cuba. Orlando is a good opportunity to show them that.”
The CONCACAF Under-17 Boys World Cup Qualifier will be held in Cuba, the first week in July. The Bahamas will need to win the group to move on. They will go up against host country Cuba, Puerto Rico and Aruba. The official roster for Team Bahamas will be determined by the end of June. By then, Davies said the team will be ready. He said there is no pressure on him and the chosen players, that they are out there to do their best.
The country’s under-17 girls squad made history when they qualified out of their Caribbean Football Union’s (CFU) group and moved on to the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championships. The Bahamas was shut out in two games against Mexico and the United States and played to a scoreless draw against Trinidad and Tobago at the tournament which was held last month in Guatemala.
Davies said: “I don’t feel pressured. It is a lot more competitive in the male division than in the female. I am not taking anything away from them. I think what they have done and accomplished is exceptional. The time and effort that they put into it was phenomenal, but it doesn’t provide any pressure.
“As long as the boys improve on their technical abilities we should be good. The players who we have now, they are good technically but to play at a higher level you obviously need to do better and improve on each game. That is something that you have to work on.”
The team has been training since last year September. The CONCACAF Under-17 Boys World Cup Qualifier will be their first test for the year.