Three different players got on the scoresheet for The Bahamas’ men’s senior national team as they razzled and dazzled their way to a dominating 3-0 victory over the British Virgin Islands in front of the home crowd at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium last night.
The game was the third that The Bahamas played in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League’s League C Group B. It was the fourth and final game for the BVI, as they came out winless.
The goal scorers were Marcel Joseph (9’), Lesly St. Fleur (11’) and Quinton Carey (36’).
Joseph collected a pass from defender Jonathan Miller, turned and darted for the goal to shoot the ball past the BVI goalkeeper, Phillip Graham, to score his first international goal. This was Graham’s international debut.
“My first international goal is something really special. I dreamt about this day and when it happened, I couldn’t believe it.
It was crazy and so much emotions, seeing the crowd celebrate was quite a joy. I hope it is not the last. I think I am going to score a lot more for the team and help the team go further,” an elated Joseph said.
The Bahamas controlled most of the game, especially in the first half, as they got their way on offense, leaving goalkeeper Dwayne Whylly with not much to do. Whylly had his second straight clean sheet.
Nesley Jean, head coach for Team Bahamas, was impressed with his team’s performance.
“This was a huge victory for us. This was a must-win game to put us over in the top group. As we go away tomorrow (today) to face Bonaire, I am extremely proud of these guys. They put in a lot of work, especially the guys who are here and the guys who we brought back from away, knowing they only had a few days rest to try get fit into what we are trying to do here,” Jean said.
St. Fleur’s goal came two minutes after Joseph’s goal in the ninth minute. He got a long ball from Cameron Hepple and found his way past the defender to dribble the ball in the box. He shot it far-post into the net and the fans got off their feet and celebrated St. Fleur’s brace. That was St. Fleur’s third goal of the group games. The other two goals came against the BVI in their previous meeting back in October.
The visitors’ head coach Dan Neville said his team showed a lot of fight in the second half, as they are a young team whose average age is 20 years old and will now have some international experience.
“I have been in football for 25 years in the UEFA and CONCACAF and I don’t think I’ve ever known a team that young. We are disappointed with the goals in the first half – they were too easy. We addressed some things at half time and I thought they showed a lot of character to come out in the second half,” Neville said.
He added that his team’s overall goal is to qualify for the 2026 World Cup and by the 2024 World Cup Qualifiers, most of the players will have a lot of experience and will be a force to reckon with.
The third goal on the night came on St. Fleur’s pace and speed as he left BVI’s Miguel Marshall on the ground. St. Fleur got to the touch line before passing the ball in the six-yard box. Carey got a good touch and found the back of the net for The Bahamas.
The Bahamas now sits at the top of the group with nine points, as the team prepares to play second place Bonaire, with six points, on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Curacao. The Bahamas must win, draw or avoid a loss of six or more goals to advance to League B.
The last time these two teams met, in September, the Junkanoo Boys won 2-1 in Nassau.
“We take it a game at a time. We never know what is going to come at us. The ball is round so anything can happen, but I am confident in the guys going forward that we can put up the results and get the victory,” Jean said.
As for the three days turnaround for the Bonaire game, Happy Hall, The Bahamas’ assistant coach and player, said that most of his team is used to it.
“Most of us have played university ball or semi-professional and professional. That is part of the game, you play the next day, you travel somewhere else, you rest. The Bahamas Football Association (BFA) has given us a strong trainer and she takes great care of us… We are going to be able to rotate players as well. We have a strong team and we have a lot of depth on the bench,” Hall said.
The Bahamian team left for Curacao this morning.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism