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The Bahamas defeats Antigua & Barbuda

It was a strong start for The Bahamas’ Men’s National Beach Soccer Team at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Beach Soccer Championships that is currently underway at the Puerto Vallarta Stadium, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Bahamas defeated Antigua & Barbuda in their first group match yesterday.

The Bahamas prevailed, 7-4, getting two goals each from Jean Francois and Kyle Williams, and one goal apiece from Lesly. St. Fleur, Timothy Munnings and Gary Joseph. Joseph got The Bahamas on the scoreboard, finding the back of the net just 53 seconds into the game.

By the end of the first third, The Bahamas led 3-1, and doubled that lead to 6-2 at the end of the second third. The Bahamas was never in danger of losing the match. They added another goal in the final third to finish the match ahead, 7-4. Munnings, Williams and Joseph scored off bicycle kicks for The Bahamas, St. Fleur added a penalty shot for a goal, and the rest were crossing shots.

“This was our first real competitive game in a while and it was a good game for us,” said Team Captain Gavin Christie from Puerto Vallarta yesterday. “We had some very good combinations and we stuck to the system. We made a few mistakes, but nonetheless, we came out on top. Everyone played well. We rotated well and we’re just taking it one game at a time. We have one win under our belt, and moving on to the next.”

Today is an off-day for The Bahamas, and they will play Bonaire tomorrow. That game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) in The Bahamas. A win against Bonaire should secure a quarterfinal spot for The Bahamas. The Bahamas will play the United States in its final group stage game on Thursday, and the quarterfinals get underway on 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.

Head of the delegation Jason McDowall said that he was really impressed with the team’s play in their opening match.

“They played really well,” said McDowall. “They did what they were asked to do, and they are all in good spirits. They’re having a fantastic time so far. The goal is to take it one game at a time and hopefully qualify for the quarterfinals. We are taking every game seriously and not taking anyone lightly.”

In the other Group C match on Monday, the United States blasted Bonaire, 12-1. There are 16 teams vying for two spots for the 2019 FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) Beach Soccer World Cup that is set for later this year in Asunción, Paraguay. The teams in the tournament are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas, 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 along with the U.S., Antigua and Barbuda and Bonaire.
Brazilian Luis Escobar Passos Da Silva is the head coach for Team Bahamas and he is being assisted by Wilson DaCosta. Larry Minns is the team manager.

In the last CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships in 2017, The Bahamas finished sixth at home, losing to the United States of America in the fifth-sixth place game. The country still qualified for the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup as the host nation where they were knocked out in group stage play.

Sheldon Longley

Sports Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting
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