The Bahamas to play in inaugural under-15 championships
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Jun 15, 2013
The Bahamas is among 22 countries that will compete in the inaugural Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association (CONCACAF) Under-15 Championships.
The tournament is designed to build and strengthen the sport at the youth level, creating more play for countries under the confederation’s umbrella. The games will be played at three venues in the Cayman Islands, August 14-25. Participating countries includes Aruba, The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Martin, Sint Maarten, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
An 18-member team will represent The Bahamas at the inaugural event. The official list of players on Team Bahamas will be released in the upcoming days. Right now, Coach Niko Mosko will continue to train the 22 members every Tuesday and Thursday until the team is named.
“The Centre of Excellence has ramped up its youth developmental program under the auspices of the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) with the sole intention of bringing the youth soccer to the next level,” said Mosko. “The ramping up started approximately two years ago. At that time, the boys were between the ages of 12 and 13 years old. Between then and now, they have gained a considerable amount of technical education and a number of things along the way.
“It is the inaugural championships, but we are not too worried because our under-15 boys have been exposed to tournaments that have hosted very good teams before. We’ve played teams from out of the United States of America, and they have gained a whole lot of experience. The boys have been working very hard. They are very dedicated to the goal and that is to do well at the championships.”
Mosko has only been with the Center of Excellence for the last two years, but has been coaching for more than 12 years in the league. He is also a coach at the Tambearly School.
During this time, Mosko said he has seen the players grow into mature athletes, who have grasped the fundamentals of the game. The success and drive that the players now have, according to Mosko comes from the hard work and training that the dedicated coaches put the players through each and every Saturday.
Mosko said: “Over the years, it has been experiential to say the least. It was kick and run when they were little; now they have progressed and moved through the ranks. The level of soccer has improved. In fact, it has improved in the country courtesy of the dedicated coaches who are out there every single weekend, rain or shine.
“Having not seen any of the teams, you can only go on reputations of the countries. Our young men are talented. There’s a number of them who are very technically sound. There are a number of them who are very, very athletic and the rest who just have a fantastic understanding of the game itself, positioning and that sort of thing, which is a huge hurdle to overcome, especially at this age.
“I think we are going to do well. We are not going down there for a suntan or beach time; we are going to do a job. These young men are dedicated and are at practice every Tuesday and Thursday. They don’t miss. Their parents are behind them so that is a huge thing.”