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The Bahamas finishes sixth at World Cup qualifier

Team barely missed out on the semi-finals; scored 15 goals
  • PENALTY LOSS: The Bahamas lost in a penalty shootout, to Guatemala, yesterday, to finish sixth at the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup CONCACAF Qualifier, which was held at the Malcolm Park Beach Soccer and Futsal Facility, here in The Bahamas. Photo: AHVIA CAMPBELL

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: May 13, 2013

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When The Bahamas men’s national beach soccer team takes a look back at the matches played at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup CONCACAF Qualifier, despite not advancing, they would still have something to smile about.

Team Bahamas made history by placing sixth in the event, falling in a penalty shootout to Guatemala, on Sunday. Regulation ended in a 6-6 tie, and Guatemala prevailed 1-0 in the shootout. The Bahamas had beaten Guatemala earlier in the tournament, 4-3.

Still, this was The Bahamas’ first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup CONCACAF Qualifier. They played a remarkable eight games in just 10 days, counting the BSWW Riviera Cup in Mexico as well. Be that as it may, they still barely feel short of advancing to the semi-finals, and ended up sixth overall. The tremendous feat was applauded by Head Coach Roberto Ceciliano who believes fatigue played a part in the result of the final game, especially in the shootout against Guatemala.

Up first for Team Bahamas in the penalty shootout was Nesley Jean, who kicked the ball long and wide. Eduardo Samayoa was selected to take the first shot for Guatemala. He nailed it, sending the ball to the left side of the net. The Guatemalan team erupted in cheers, as Samayoa’s goal gave them a stunning comeback victory.

In the seesaw battle, The Bahamas dictated the pace for most of the game. They led for the first three minutes, before Wilson Gonzalez netted a long shot on Torin Ferguson. Gonzalez’s goal came from a yellow card called on Jason Edwards. Minutes before Gonzalez scored, Ferguson had blocked his head shot. However, The Bahamas responded, adding another goal to their count, thanks to Kyle Williams who got an assist from Jean.

“The team played very well, they fought all the way to the end,” said Ceciliano. “We made a few mistakes. When you are playing at a high level like these international events, we cannot have those mistakes. We have to minimize the mistakes because whoever has the most mistakes usually loses the game. That is the reason why we cannot step out too much. I am very proud of my players because they played very hard. This team has been together for only three years and in that short time, that is nothing to compare to these teams who have been playing for many years. The players are very good, and we have a great future. I know that in the next qualifiers, I know that we can qualify.”

The team had just returned from Mexico where they played three games against some of the top squads in the world. Team Bahamas went up against Brazil, the number one ranked team in the world, Mexico and Spain.

The five-day FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup CONCACAF Qualifier lined Team Bahamas up against some big teams like the United States of America and Guatemala. The Bahamas fell to USA, 9-2, on Friday, and awaited the result of the El Salvador and Jamaica’s match to see if they would play in the semi-final. El Salvador went onto defeat Jamaica by at least three goals which was needed, clinching the last semi-final spot. They eventually moved into the final against the USA, stunning top seed Mexico in a penalty shootout. The U.S. won the championship game, 5-4, over El Salvador.

A total of 15 goals were scored by Team Bahamas in the tournament. Lesley St. Fleur scored five goals, Jean and Ehren Hanna added three each, and Dwayne Forbes and Kyle Williams had two apiece.

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