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Bajan pride at stake

EZRA STUART, [email protected]

Bajan pride at stake

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Barbados’ senior team have another opportunity to restore national football pride tonight as they step up preparations for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League.

The Bajan Tridents, with a mere two wins in their last seven matches, face lightweights Belize in a historic maiden friendly international at the Wildey AstroTurf from 7 p.m.

With home advantage on a familiar field which has been the home of Premier League football in recent years, nothing less than victory will suffice for the 158th-ranked Tridents, against their Central American opponents, who sit 11 places beneath them.

The only meeting between the teams was last year in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship when Belize blitzed Barbados 6-2 in the Bahamas but this is a different brand of soccer.

Actually, Belize’s last international fixture was19 months ago when they were blanked 5-0 by Honduras in November, 2016.

Barbados have endured unflattering results over the past year, especially in the Windward Islands Tournament when they lost to Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, drew with St Lucia and had a consolation win against Grenada. 

After defeating lowly Bermuda 3-2 last October in Devonshire, the Bajan Tridents were held to a disappointing goalless draw with the same opponents at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex in March in their only outing this year.

In that game, it was clear the attack lacked penetration without former national captain Mario Harte, who has been harshly banned, attacking midfielder Romario Harewood, arguably the best footballer in the country and sharp-shooter Kemar Headley.

Technical director Ahmed Mohamed belatedly introduced teenage St Leonard’s Boys’ strikers Dishon Howell and Thiery Gale, the 15-year-old son of former national forward Dwayne Gale.

It is now left to be seen what role they will play, tonight.

A new overseas player Kaeson Trench of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC has been named in the 20-man roster.

Inform Paradise striker Armando “Suga” Lashley has been recalled and will likely link up with Zeco Edmee upfront with Howell coming off the bench.

Captain Rashad Jules will orchestrate attacks with his penetrating runs from the left flank while the attacking Hadan “Fatty” Holligan, the experienced Raheim Sargeant and Jomo Harris will perform the midfield duties. Holligan could also be pushed forward with either Mario Williams or Akeem Hill starting in midfield. The continued suspension of Ricardio Morris means  Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme’s duo Ranaldo Bailey and Shane Codrington will feature in the centre of the defence to protect either the experienced goalkeeper Jason ‘Barbers” Boxhill or gifted Kishmar Primus.  

Kyle Hinkson, who had an impressive senior debut versus Bermuda and Trench are the likely wing backs with Rashad Smith as back-up.

With Wales’ creative talisman Jabar “Buggy” Green surprisingly not featuring in the national set-up, midfielders Ackeel Applewhaite and Darico King will be keen to impress while there is a third custodian in Liam Brathwaite. (EZS)