Team Bahamas forward Terry Delancy Jr. completed a hat-trick, leading The Bahamas’ Senior Men’s National Soccer Team to a convincing 6-1 victory over neighboring Turks and Caicos in an international friendly at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Saturday.
Team Bahamas now heads to Dominica to play Dominica in an away game in a CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League game set for this coming Saturday, March 23.
The game against the Turks and Caicos Islands came on the heels of a one-week preparation camp for Team Bahamas in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. The camp was led by interim head coach and former national team player Nesley Jean, and coaches at the Florida Elite Club. From the result on Saturday, it seems like the camp paid off.
Bahamian fans at the stadium did not have to wait long to celebrate an offensive burst as Delancy collected a well-placed long ball from veteran Happy Hall in the second minute of the game. He took a shot and placed the ball in the back of the net for The Bahamas’ first goal of the game.
The Bahamas looked upbeat throughout, attacking more and playing with a sense of urgency.
Delancy, who did not score in the three CONCACAF Nation League games for The Bahamas, found the back of the net again in the eighth minute of the game. He took a shot from the top of the eight-yard box after getting an assist from team captain Lesly St. Fleur.
“This was my sixth or seventh national team game and I didn’t score a goal up to this point so Ieading up to the game I did a lot of shooting. I made a conscious effort to be the one who sets everything off and whatever chance I got, I wanted to take advantage of it and put it in goal,” said Delancy.
In the 40th minute, Ricardo McPhee got on the scoresheet as he found the back of the net to give The Bahamas a 3-0 lead going into the half. Jean said it was exactly the start the team needed.
“It was a good start. It is a good product of what we want to do. We had a good week in Jacksonville with the camp, and this is the type of game that we looked at. These guys worked their socks off putting in the work during the week and I think that they really appreciate the crowd coming in as an extra boost for them,” Jean said.
Delancy was not finished as he completed a hat-trick 15 minutes into the second half. The young forward netted this goal from the penalty-kick area off a great pass from St. Fleur. That goal gave The Bahamas a 4-0 advantage, almost an insurmountable margin for the Turks and Caicos team to come back from. They were simply getting outplayed by the locals.
Omar Edwards, head coach of the visiting team, said they were hoping to see a better defensive outing from themselves.
“We were hoping to see a better defensive team shape and organization. We were also looking forward to creating some more opportunities. We failed to do that and hence we conceded some goals that, in my opinion, with some better defensive practice, we could have avoided. It is a young team and a learning experience, and the way forward is clear,” Edwards said.
Edwards’ team conceded another goal – this time it was Bahamian substitute Jaime Thompson who found the back of the net, in the 78th minute. Thompson took just one touch on his left foot as Alex Thompson’s headed pass bounced his way.
It was 5-0 in favor of Team Bahamas, who looked well on the way to a much-needed victory.
Marc-Mechez Fenelus gave his team a consolation goal in the 80th minute as he found the back of the net after marching through the Bahamian defenders. He cut the lead to 5-1, and it looked like this was going to be the final scoreline.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough game. Congrats to The Bahamas. They played a very good game – passing very fast and we couldn’t control the game against them. Obviously we made a lot of mistakes in our defensive third and most of them resulted in a goal. This is something that we try to work on a lot with our guys to try and improve and try to keep the ball to not make too many mistakes,” Fenelus said.
Fenelus won’t be in his team’s next game against the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on Thursday, March 21. He is suspended as a result of receiving two yellow cards.
In the 87th minute, the diminutive St. Fleur decided to put the icing on the cake for his team. He took a ball from Jaime Thompson then dribbled it into the opponent’s defensive third before chipping the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The game ended 6-1 as the final whistle blew.
Jean said the team will look at what was done right and see what needs to be fixed before they play in their Nations League match.
“This is quite an easy team to work with. They understand what we want from them and they give 100 percent. As you can see we have added a few older guys who were on the team before and we try to get a mixture of mature players with the young ones. I think that is going well,” Jean said.
Team Bahamas looked like a different squad from the team that played in its previous three matches on Saturday evening as they moved with and without the ball very well. They finished much better than in their last three games as they found the back of the net six times.
“He (Jean) has brought a sense of urgency. Everyone was locked in from the get-go. Usually, when we go about things people tend to be loose here and there but it was just being completely focused at all times. Everyone was aware of what they had to do individually. We kept it simple and just executed at the right time,” said Delancy.
The Bahamas currently sits at number 27 out of 34 nations in the CONCACAF region. After playing three games in the Nations League, they have a 0-2-1 win-loss-draw record. Dominica sits at number 20 and has four points that includes one win and one draw.
The game between The Bahamas and Dominica is set for this Saturday at the Windsor Park Sport Stadium in Dominica at 2.30 p.m.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism