Sports

Jean exhibited confidence in his team going into key match

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The Bahamas’ senior men’s national soccer team is in Nicaragua and was set to take on the Nicaraguan national team in its final game of the first window of the 2022/2023 CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League competition last night. The result was unavailable up to press time. 

Head coach of the team Nesly Jean said the team is a little different rosterwise but, going into the match, he exhibited confidence in the players representing the country. The match was held at the Nicaragua National Football Stadium in the Nicaraguan capital.

The Bahamas was coming off a 2-0 loss on their home field, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, to Nicaragua. Jean didn’t have three of his starters from the team that traveled to Trinidad and Tobago last week for the trip to Nicaragua but he had strong belief in the team.

“You must have the same mindset and same goal which is to always go ahead and try to win each match. It hasn’t changed. Our goal is always to go into a match and try to perform as best as we can and try to win,” Jean said.

He added that he is proud of his players and their performance over the past three games that were played in 10 days. In the first two games, The Bahamas won 1-0 against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and lost 1-0 to Trinidad and Tobago. They then lost 2-0 to Nicaragua. Jean said in that last game, the game plan had to be shifted.

Heading into Nicaragua, The Bahamas lost Omari Bain, Quinton Carey and Julio Jemison, who were all starters in the game against Trinidad and Tobago the week before. Jean also had to make up for the loss of winger Marcel Joseph, who was suspended for picking up his second yellow card on Friday.

“It’s a huge blow to the team in regard to three or four guys that we normally would start and who could not make the trip,” said Jean. “I am still satisfied with the team we brought. The confidence was there. It was just up to them to get what the coaches wanted from them before the game,” Jean said.

He added that the absence of key players prompted a change in the coaching staff’s game plan.

“Each player carries a different style of play. We have to play to a player’s strength and try to put it altogether, so they can actually play as a team,” said Jean. “In a way, it hurts the team a little bit but, at the same time, the players we have here have a good understanding of what we would want to do,” he added.

It is tough to play Nicaragua away, and playing them at home in front of their fans is a tall order. Jean said he spoke to his team about what to expect, especially the animosity from the fans. He said the key was to enjoy the game and stick to the game plan.

“It’s no different but understanding that this is at the top level and they all are representing their country,” said Jean. “It’s a difficult situation. It is a learning experience for them as well, but it has to come from their heart. They have the drive. The senior guys have to push the younger ones. That would help a lot.”

Going into last night’s game, The Bahamas had not scored a goal since its first game of this window against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Jean said he told his team that they have to take risks and put pressure on their opponents, and look to score.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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