Bajans going for goal
COOLING the Vincy Heat!
That will be a must for the Bajan Tridents inside what should be a hot, hot, hot Victoria Park tonight with a capacity crowd cheering on host country St Vincent and the Grenadines in a decisive final Group “B” Digicel Caribbean Cup qualifying soccer match against Barbados at 8:30 p.m.
Both Barbados and St Vincent are level on four points from 1-1 draws with St Kitts-Nevis and lopsided wins against Montserrat, but the Vincies hold a superior goal average.
Whereas they blanked Montserrat 7-0, Barbados won 5-0 so a draw could see the Vincy Heat securing a second-round berth in Grenada later this month should the Sugar Boyz fail to beat the Montserratians by seven clear goals in the evening’s opener at 6 p.m.
In Bajans’ favour
History, however favours the Bajan Tridents as they have convincingly defeated the Vincy Heat in their last three encounters – 3-1 in 2005, 3-0 in 2006 and 2-0 in 2008 – for an overall record of eight wins, four losses and a draw in 13 matches while scoring 23 goals and conceding 16.
In fact, former technical adviser Keith Griffith has advised coach Thomas Jordan to adopt a similar strategy to 2006 when Barbados marked strikers Shandel Samuel and Marlon James, as well as playmaker Kendol Velox, out of another key encounter at the National Stadium.
With Elvis Defreitas and Dwight James no longer in the national team, rookie Jason Carter, who impressed in his first full game on Friday and Romell Burgess, will no doubt perform marking roles.
“The team should be patient with good organisation. The team formation and tactics will be critical just as in 2006 when we defeated them 3-0 at the National Stadium,” Griffith suggested in a telephone call from Barbados.
Not easy to beat
“They are not an easy team to beat at home, so you can’t go out and rush it,” added Griffith while conveying best wishes to the team that will be hoping that influential captain Norman Forde can conjure up another magical display.
The Bajan Tridents also have fond memories of their last friendly encounter at Victoria Park in 2008 when they beat the Vincy Heat 2-0, courtesy goals by Dwayne Stanford and Forde, who had also scored in the 2006 victory.
Not since their 1-0 win on home soil in 2000 has St Vincent defeated Barbados, but they have replaced most of the old guard with several new faces.
Samuel now wears the captain’s armband, but James is injured and the likes of Velox, Ezra Hendrickson, Wesley Charles, Alwyn Guy, Cornelius Huggins, Sean Glynn and custodian Melvin Andrews, have given away to several under-23 players like winger Cornelius Stewart, defender Keith James, midfielder Daren Hamlet, goalkeeper Dwaine Sandy and 17-year-old striker Myron Samuel.
The oldest Vincentian player is 34-year-old sweeper Oscar Nero, who is familiar with the Bajans as he plays a similar role for Pride of Gall Hill in the local Premier League.
Jordan had another look at the Vincentians in Friday’s game against the Kittitians and reckons they are a team with a great amount of speed.
“They move the ball fast and their players are very fast on the ball and this is something that we will have to watch, so we will have to plan our strategy with that in mind,” Jordan told SUNSPORT.
Can do it
“We are capable of beating them. They are not invincible. They are a good team, but if we use the ball well and if we finish our chances, I’m sure we can beat anyone in this zone,” Jordan asserted.
Another concern was some niggling injuries to key players, especially first-choice striker Riviere Williams.
“We have one or two injuries which we have to work on. Hopefully by Sunday we will get a better picture and they will be cleared up. If not, we will have to make a few replacements and do the adjustments in our team, but I’m hoping that the injuries are not as bad as they seem at this time,” he said.