After missing in action from the senior national team collectively for the better part of five years, three of the island's more-experienced players are back in blue and yellow. Former captain and forward, Mario Harte, midfield maestro, Romario Harewood and solid centre back, Ricardio Morris have all been brought back in to the fold as Barbados are continues to search for its first win in the Concacaf Nations League Qualifiers.
Set to take on the United States Virgin Islands in our first home fixture for the tournament, the trio, along with Shakille Belle who is fresh off a stint playing in New Zealand, have all joined the squad being built by Technical Director Ahmed Mohamed.
Close to the end of 2017, both Harte and Morris had unceremonious exits from the national team while Harewood has not been in the side for over two years. However, they have all signed on happily to help Barbados keep their dreams alive in the new competition put on by the regional body.
Speaking yesterday during a training session, Harte said that he was pleasantly pleased to be once again representing the island. “It is a good feeling! It is always a good feeling to represent Barbados so I look forward to my return.” he said.
A coach himself as he helms the defending champions in the Barbados Football Association's Women's League, Harte said that he thought the structure of the team was definitely stronger for the inclusion. “When I look at the make-up of the team from the players that were there before, they had a good thing going in terms of the structure of how they played. The players rejoining the squad will make a difference, I believe. Myself, Ricardio Morris and Romario Harewood – our best player in the midfield right now in Barbados. It is good to have these guys in the squad along with Shakille Belle, his speed and experience from playing in New Zealand. It is a good make-up.” Harte said before adding that slotting back into the set-up was a rather easy process. “It wasn't too hard. After a few sessions, you were able to fit back in and we would have been present for the games or watching online so it wasn't too hard to figure out what the coach wanted from us.”
Harte, who ended this past season of the Barbados Premier League in fine form, said that he was ready to go to work for the team and bring home a win for Barbados. “All I want to do is win for the people of Barbados! For the support they have been giving, they deserve a win. The guys have been trying before but I think we have no excuses now. We are at home and everything should be in place in terms of team structure, knowing how to play, where to play the ball. I think the guys are really coming for the win on Sunday. It's overdue.” he said.
Morris, who also played alongside Belle in New Zealand, said that he was happy to be representing the Tridents again as well. “Honestly, it feels great to be back representing the country. It is something I always wanted to do and I'm looking to put my best foot forward and give Barbados our first win in the Nations League.” he said.
Noting that he had a good stint in New Zealand and was prepared to exhibit his new-found extra confidence on the ball and be an inspiration for some of the other players, Morris said that he had garnered a new appreciation for the game through the knowledge he gained and hoped for the best from the team. “I am hoping for the team to go out there and do their best honestly. Nothing less than a win is what we are praying for but the match is on Sunday so we have to take it day-by-day. At this time, recovery is key to Sunday – how we eat, how we rest, how we prepare for this game.” he said before taking the opportunity to ask the public to rally behind the boys. “It's going to be an exciting game on Sunday. Please come out and support. We need the 12th man for sure. That will help us tremendously. The noise from the crowd will push us to victory.” he said.
Barbados will play host to the USVI on Sunday night at the Wildey Turf. Kick-off is slated for 7:00 PM.
National Team for Concacaf Nations League game against USVI
Technical Director – Ahmed Mohamed
Coach – Fitzgerald Carter
Manager – Martin Newton
Goalkeeper Coach – Richard Bynoe
Trainer – Ryan Brewster
Physiotherapist – Nicola Yarde
Medic – Dennis Callender