Continuing a stellar play from their first game, The Bahamas Men’s Senior National Soccer Team came away with three key points as they shut out the British Virgin Islands (BVI) 4-0 in their second game in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League.
The Bahamas is playing in Group B in League C along with Bonaire and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The game took place at the Warner Park Sporting Complex in Basseterre, St. Kitts, on Thursday night.
Happy Hall and Quinton Carey chipped in with a goal each to put the icing on the cake for The Bahamas.
The Bahamas now sports a 2-0 unblemished win-loss record as they gave the maximum six points at this point.
“It feels great getting our first clean sheet and this was one of our main focus in tonight’s game,” said Nesly Jean, head coach for The Bahamas.
“We were trying to get our midfielders and especially our defenders to play more as a unit and fight for each other and we only could go forward from this, and this shows that the hard work is paying off.
This game was Jean’s fourth as the head coach for the national team after representing The Bahamas for over a decade on the field.
In the first half, the game looked even as both teams were trying to feel each other out. The only shot on goal came from BVI’s Bailey Rowe in the 19th minute.
St. Fleur was awarded a penalty after he was fouled in the 18-yard box in the 36th minute. He quickly found the back of the net on a well-placed corner to the bottom right of the goal to put The Bahamas up 1-0.
In the first half, Jean said his guys were nervous and started off a little slow.
“First half, I think we start off a little slow. Guys were nervous and were trying to figure things out but once we figure that out the game change. With Lesly getting us the first goal, helped the guys to settle a bit more and play our game,” Jean said.
During the intermission, he said he told his players they have to step up.
“I told them we need to connect better as a team and everyone has to step up and let’s keep the ball by moving forward quickly as possible and in between the line. Also, I told them to get our more creative player on the ball early as possible and to give ourselves chances,” he added.
The team responded four minutes after the half when St. Fleur dribbled his way close to BVI’s six-yard box to send the ball rolling into the far post for his second goal.
In the 55th minute, St. Fleur ran the right-side flank and passed the ball to a chasing Happy Hall who rewarded St. Fleur with a left-foot shot high above the BVI goalkeeper for The Bahamas’ third goal of the game.
Coming into this game, the diminutive but strong forward said it was a game they had to win.
“It was a game we had to win to top the group and the team had to perform good tonight,” St. Fleur said.
“My performance was good. I had a role to play and I went out there and help the team come out with the win. For the next game coming up, I’m going to continue to work hard and score goals and be on my A-game again. We will need the support and the fans to come out in colors and cheer the team on.”
The Bahamas was comfortable as their defense played strong to prevent BVI from scoring.
Bahamian Quinton Carey decided to join in the goal party in the 81st minute. He picked up a through ball and used two touches to send the ball into the back of the net to give his team a huge 4-0 lead, putting the game out of reach.
A happy Jean was grateful to his veteran players and the team who gave 100 percent in the game.
“I’m very proud of every single player out there tonight for giving more than 100 percent, even with guys carrying injuries such as Hall, Ambry Moss and St. Fleur, who still managed to play through the pain for the team,” he said.
“They are the real leaders of this team and showing the younger guys what it’s like to be at this level. So, special praise for these guys and also for everyone else who made our country proud tonight.”
As of next week, Jean said the team will resume training as they have both a home and an away game on November 14 and November 17.
On November 14, The Bahamas will have a rematch with Bonaire in a home game on New Providence. Three days later they will play an away match against Bonaire. That will end the group phase for all three teams in Group B.
CONCACAF is teaming up with UNICEF USA to bring awareness to relief efforts in The Bahamas following the impact of Hurricane Dorian.
CONCACAF and its member associations, through the Nations League matches taking place across the region in October and November, will use their collective reach and influence to raise awareness for UNICEF’s emergency work and fundraising.
UNICEF is delivering hugely important programs in The Bahamas, including providing basic needs and supplies for families and helping children displaced by the hurricane get back to school as soon as possible.