They gave it all they had, but came up one win short. The Bahamas’ Under-17 Girls Soccer Team lost to Guyana on Sunday, and as a result, fell one win short of advancing to the 2020 CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Under-17 Girls Championship – the regional qualifier for the 2020 FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India as the CONCACAF representative.
Playing out of Group D in one of four CONCACAF qualifiers that was held over the past week, The Bahamas finished with a 2-1 win-loss record, defeating host nation Curaçao and St. Vincent & the Grenadines but falling to Guyana. A win against Guyana would have placed the country in the CONCACAF finals next year.
In their first match of the tournament last Wednesday, The Bahamas knocked off St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 4-1, at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, Curaçao. Two days later, they improved to 2-0, taking down the host nation, 3-0. That victory set The Bahamas up for a pool championship match against Guyana on Sunday, and they came out on the losing end, 3-1.
Back home in The Bahamas, Head Coach Kevin Davies said that he was satisfied with their performance in all three games. He said that they are definitely on the right track.
“The girls gave it all they could but just came up short. I think they played extremely well,” he said. “Based on what the under-15 team did last year and what the under-17 team did this year, you would see that it was a great improvement in their performance. They play with a lot more emotion and compassion, and they now understand what they need to do to get to the next level. They see the progress and are willing to put in more work.”
The team trained together for months before leaving for competition in Curaçao.
Asia Williams scored the lone goal for The Bahamas against Guyana on Sunday. Against St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Rachel Rolle had a hat trick, scoring three times. Gabrielle Simms scored the other goal for Team Bahamas. Against the host nation, Simms found the back of the net once, Williams scored a goal, and Kaitlyn Davies scored the other.
The other members of the team were Alexis Deveaux, Brianna Capron, Jade Thelamour, Jada Thelamour, Angel Williams, Janeka Edey, Kendi Outten, Chane Rodriguez, Julia Raine, Samantha Ramirez, Daniella Gomez, Shasta Saunders, Hadassah Knowles, Alexis Williamson, Gabrielle Murphy and Krystal Saunders. Davies was the Head Coach and he was assisted by Ricqea Bain. The team manager was Daria Adderley, and D’Andra Mills travelled as the physiotherapist.
“I believe a little bit of mental fatigue and physical fatigue got to us on Sunday,” said Davies. “Guyana was the better team on the field. My girls gave it all they had and were done. They had nothing left in the tank. Be that as it may, I am very proud of them. They performed very well. There has definitely been an improvement in their play since last year. We just have to continue training and we’ll eventually get to the level with the top countries in this region.” The team returned home yesterday afternoon.
Playing out of Group A in the qualifiers were Honduras, St. Lucia, Anguilla and Bonaire. Advancing out of that group was Honduras. Group B included Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, the Cayman Islands and Martinique. Making it to the CONCACAF finals out of that group was the Cayman Islands. The other group, Group C, included Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Belize. Belize emerged as the winner of that group.
Out of 41 countries in the CONCACAF region, The Bahamas is ranked at number 17.
The top three nations from the 2020 CONCACAF Championship will qualify for the 2020 FIFA World Cup.
Davies assured that they will continue training, and will work on getting better and stronger for next year and beyond.