The Bahamas Football Association (BFA) had a busy week. Locally, the national men’s field soccer team defeated Bonaire 2-1, and across several time zones, there was a great showing by The Bahamas’ Men’s Beach Soccer Team at the 2019 Goalfun CFA (China Football Association) China-Latin America Beach Soccer Championships in Tangshan, China. That event was held from Saturday September 7, to Wednesday September 11.
The Bahamas was led by Lesly St. Fleur, the team’s and tournament’s leading scorer. The diminutive forward finished with eight goals to cart off with the top scorer award. He had five goals after three games, and finished with eight. Trinidad and Tobago’s Hakeem King was the runner-up.
The Bahamas finished with a 2-3 win-loss record, ending the tournament with a 4-2 victory over Uruguay. With all that is happening in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, it was a good morale booster for the team thousands of miles away. Team members said they played with a heavy heart, in honor of those who were affected by the Category 5 storm back home.
The Bahamas competed against Uruguay, tournament winner El Salvador, China, Denmark and Trinidad and Tobago. Uruguay won the 2018 edition of the tournament.
Uruguay is ranked 13th in the world while The Bahamas is ranked at number 32. Team Bahamas lost to El Salvador, host nation China and Denmark, and defeated Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.
Dating back to last year’s tournament, Uruguay did not lose a single game in the tournament until The Bahamas knocked them off yesterday.
Apart from St. Fleur, Team Bahamas was represented by Torin Ferguson, Gary Joseph, Michael Butler, Kyle Williams, Daron Beneby, Dwayne Forbes, James Thompson, Timothy Munnings Jr., Creven Ferguson, Jean Francois and Gavin Christie.
Luis Escobar was the head coach. The physiotherapist was Eugena Patton, and Jason McDowall was the head of delegation.
Team Bahamas opened the tournament with a tough 7-3 defeat to El Salvador on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Bahamian side returned to the sand and trounced Trinidad and Tobago, 6-2.
The third game was a very competitive one against Denmark. The game finished 3-3 after the final third and needed a penalty shootout to determine a winner.
The Danes outlasted the Bahamian side 3-2 in the penalty shootout to pick up the victory.
Playing against the host nation was a tough task. China overpowered the Bahamian side 3-1.
Chinese player Bai Fan was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament and Chinese Zhang Xunwei carted off the Best Goalkeeper award.
Last year, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile and China competed. The tournament grew this year with six teams in action.
The Bahamas can be invited to play in next year’s edition of the tournament. It is expected that The Bahamas can progress from the experience gained from this tournament.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism