Team Bahamas ready for CONCACAF tourney
Having already inked their names into the soccer history books, The Bahamas’ Under-17 girls’ team is ready to “kick it” a step further.
The team is hoping to score enough goals in the second round of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) tournament, so they can move on to the championships. Only the top three teams from the November 27-December 4 tournament will move on. Team Bahamas will take on Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in the round-robin affair that will be played in Jamaica.
The team’s first game will be played on November 29 against Jamaica. That match will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex. On December 1, top team Trinidad and Tobago will face Team Bahamas. The final game for The Bahamas will be two days later, at the Harbour View Stadium, against Guyana.
“We are going to come out of this round and move into the CONCACAF Championships,” said a confident head coach Daria Adderley. “We are going to finish as one of the top three teams. I am guessing that we will be either one or two. Trinidad and Tobago will be our biggest competition because they’ve had a youth program longer than we’ve had, and youth soccer was actually based out of Trinidad. That is the only reason why I think they will be our competition, but the girls, they’ve been training really hard. They’ve gotten fast and stronger since the last competition. I think they will turn some heads in this competition.”
The Bahamas advanced to the second round after winning Group A in the summer. The team came out of the group with two wins against no defeats, beating Bermuda and Antigua and Barbuda. This is the first time The Bahamas is playing at such a level, but Adderley is not worried. According to Adderley, the necessary adjustments have been made. The recent trip to Florida, where the team played against the Cayman Islands national team and an under-17 squad based in Florida, was a success, Adderley confirmed.
She said: “The long wait will not hurt us. We took a trip to Florida about three or four weeks ago and that was the reason for the trip, to keep them active and competition ready. Last weekend they had a match with some boys, just to keep them sharp. Competing against the boys, they looked very good. We had some positive comments and feedback from persons who were there. They were saying that the girls were hitting hard and tackling.
“I like the position we are sitting in right now. The girls are very excited about going into competition. This will be the first major competition for about 80-90 percent of them. I think only three girls on the team have played against Trinidad and Jamaica, when they made the previous squad and when we were trying to qualify, so I know with the other girls, the crowd difference and fan support for the other teams will definitely be a change for them. I think they’ll be fine because they like to step up and play for the crowd. They like the competitive level of soccer and will step up and play.”
If Team Bahamas advances, it will meet up against the United States, Canada and Mexico, which have secured their spots earlier. The championships will be held next year, and no date has been confirmed as yet.