The Bahamas’ Men’s National Beach Soccer Team for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Beach Soccer Championships has been named. The championships are set for May 13-19 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The team has been practicing for the past few weeks and will hold its final practice at home tomorrow evening before leaving for Mexico on Saturday morning.
Making the cut for the team that was ratified by the Bahamas Football Association’s (BFA) is Nesley Jean, Gavin Christie, Michael Butler, Daron Beneby, James Thompson, Gary Joseph, Dwayne Forbes, Timothy Munnings, Lesly St. Fleur, Kyle Williams, Jean Francois, Torin Ferguson and Nathan Wells.
The team will be coached by Luis Escobar Passos Da Silva of Brazil, and he will be assisted by Wilson DaCosta. Eugena Patton is the team’s physician.
Leading the delegation is Jason McDowall and Larry Minns is the team’s manager.
The team is spearheaded by prolific goal scorer St. Fleur. He was one of 50 players in the world vying for the “Player of the Year” Award in 2018.
It is a very experienced team featuring eight players from the 2017 FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) Beach Soccer World Cup tournament – Francois, Williams, Joseph, St. Fleur, Beneby, Christie, Forbes and Jean. They will be relied on heavily for The Bahamas in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships.
This CONCACAF Championships is a qualifier for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019.
There are 15 other teams that are vying for the top two spots that will be available for qualification for the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Asunción, Paraguay. The other teams are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bonaire, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The teams are in four groups with The Bahamas in Group C with the U.S., Antigua and Barbuda and Bonaire.
The Bahamas is ranked at number 41 in the world and number five in CONCACAF. The U.S. is the only team ranked above them in their group. They are ranked at number 25 in the world, and are at number two in the region.
Antigua and Barbuda is ranked at number 80 worldwide and number 11 in the region. Bonaire is new to beach soccer and will be looking to make its mark.
The Bahamas plays its first game next week Monday against Antigua and Barbuda at 10.45 a.m. Their second game will be on Wednesday at noon against Bonaire, and on Thursday night they will play the U.S.A. in their final group game.
After round-robin play, the first and second place finishers of each group will advance to the quarterfinals that will be played on the Friday. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners will automatically qualify for the tournament’s final, as well as the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019.
Panama will be looking to repeat as champions after upsetting Mexico in the final of the 2017 edition of the championships in Nassau, Bahamas. The Bahamas finished sixth in that event two years ago.
Team Bahamas will have to play hard and focus if they want to secure one of the two qualifying spots for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
In 2017 right here in The Bahamas, Brazil won the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, and has won 14 of the 19 global titles in the history of the championships.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism