Although it was not the result hoped for, the senior Men's national team can still hold their heads up high after breaking even with Belize in last night's international friendly match. Playing against the Central American nation for the first time ever at the Wildey Turf, the teams parted ways as equals after the goalless draw.
In front of a packed stadium, the home town boys kept the visitors on their toes as they came close to scoring several times. However, neither teams could find the back of the nets before the 90 minutes had expired.
Speaking to members of the media in the post-game conference, Belize Coach Kent Grey said that although his team did not get the result they wanted, it was a good game and they would be doing better on the return leg. Working towards September when they also get their CONCACAF Nations League campaign underway, Coach Grey said that his team was a work in progress. “Right now we are trying to rebuild. It is a pretty young team. We only have about three or four senior guys. We are trying to get the team ready for September. For most if them, it is their first time playing in an international match and I am satisfied with them.” he said
Team captain and goalkeeper West Woodrow echoed the sentiments of his coach, saying that half of the team struggled with jet-lag and that they would do much better when Barbados pays them a visit in August. “We are going to get our revenge. We are stronger at home. We did it to Grenada and we are going to do it to Barbados. Like the coach said, the guys were tired and we could see it was not them. I believe back home, we are going to regroup and I am confident that we are going to have a better game against you guys in Belize.” Woodrow said.
Technical Director for the Barbados team Ahmed Mohamed said that he was pleased with the result but was a bit disappointed with the missed chances. However, when asked about another goalless draw in Barbados' last friendly against Bermuda, Mohamed said the two could games could not be compared. “We know how Bermuda was playing and Belize is a totally different style of football. They are Central American and our main goal was to prepare for El Salvador and Nicaragua while they are in the same region. This was a to-win game – no question at all – so in the future we need to focus more on our final third. As we know, that is our main weakness but everybody can see that we can keep the intensity. We can dominate the game and put a lot of pressure on our opponent and the concept will remain the same when we go to Belize on August 4th. Our plan will be the same. It doesn't matter if they are home, strong or not.” he said before adding that the team would need to work on finishing going forward.
Noting that the level of discipline in the team was at a level not witnessed in recent years, Mohamed said that going into games against El Salvador and Nicaragua he would be seeking to play more games against Central American teams as their style differed from what we were accustomed to in the Caribbean. “We are progressing. Improvement is here – everybody can see that. We are playing football. You can see our plans. So that is why I wanted to have Central Americans going forward. We will also play against strong opponents and we will focus more on other regions than what we are used to.” he said.
With an average age of 19 in the setup, Captain of the Barbados team Rashad Jules commended his players on the work they did on the night. “I think the guys did a pretty good job. We carried out most of the instructions that were given to us Unfortunately, we lacked finishing in the finishing area in the final third and that is it. We started slow a bit but the guys caught up to the pace of the game and got back in.”
When asked about if names such as Mario Harte and Ricardio Morris would be brought back into the side, Mohamed said that forward was the only way to go in order to reap success. “We played five games, we lost one. This is the sixth consecutive game that we are in a positive shape, and I do not see any negativity there at all. So going forward we will do or jobs the same way we are doing it. I see consistency. Now, the team that we have has an average age of 19. We have top talents and good quality. Everybody knows Thierry (Gale). Thierry is the future. He has a promising future. It is about time to integrate him now. We cannot go to the past and see why John Browne is not it the team. We have to focus now. That is the reality.” he said.