July 05, 2011
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos -- Playing on their opponents home turf turned out to be no problem at all for The Bahamas senior men's national soccer team. In fact, the squad took full control of the match, leaving nothing to chance on Saturday evening at the National Stadium in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
It was about 30 minutes into the first leg of the home-and-away series when Team Bahamas went to work. They were able to break down the defense of the Turks and Caicos team and score in the 32nd minute. The first goal was netted by Nesley Jean, who added another goal later on. The Bahamas went onto win the match, 4-0, which give them a commanding lead in the series. A win this coming Saturday at the Roscoe Davies Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, here in New Providence, will secure the team a spot in round two of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football's (CONCACAF) main draw, a qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. If a draw takes place in the second match, The Bahamas can still advance since it is based on aggregate scoring. The opponent in the second round is not known, and looking into the future is not something that sits on the agenda of the team's Head Coach Kevin Davies.
"I am pleased with the performance," said Davies, who added that he will not make any predictions about the game this Saturday or who they will face next. "Obviously there are some things we can work on for the next leg. When you win it is always pleasing, but there are things you note and want to do differently. I am pleased with the guys and the effort they put it. All together it was an excellent team effort. For guys that haven't been around too long, I think it is an excellent team effort, they did a pretty good job."
Minutes before the first goal was scored, a switch in positions was made by coach Davies. He moved Jean to the striker position, Lesley St. Fleur to left midfield and Cameron Hepple to central midfield. Jean netted the first goal after the switches were made. Hepple connected off a penalty which gave Team Bahamas a 2-0 lead. The score remained 2-0 until the second half.
Davies said: "The first 15 minutes it took us a while to settle down and for the guys to get into the game. They probably had a little nerves at the opening. After we got the first goal the guys settled down and played our kind of soccer, and we needed them to do that. In the second half, we got a lot more opportunities but we didn't put them away. We could have put this game away easily and early in the second half but we didn't take full advantage of the chances given.
"I am not disappointed in the cards, that is all a part of the game. These things happen and it does not affect us in any way. We don't lose any players from it so it is really not that big of an issue looking back. We are going to concentrate on the next leg. We can win or draw to advance. We are not looking to draw though. We are looking to win - to carry the momentum forward into the next round, if that is to be. We don't know as yet who will be playing in the next round. I don't want to pre-empt the next round. We need to finish this round first and then worry about the next round."
The Bahamas' team will practice today and for the remainder of the week. Davies said the team will work on building a stronger offense which should pay off if they are to advance into the second round.
For the Turks and Caicos team, training will be focused around the offensive end and sustaining a strong defense. In the second half of the game, the home team allowed Team Bahamas to get close to the goal on six different occasions. Two of the six were successful shots, one bounced off the left side of the goal post and the remaining three sailed by. The third goal was scored in the 60th minute. Lesley St. Fleur dribbled down the sideline passing it over to Jean who knocked it in.
Clearly in control of the game, a three-player substitution was made by Team Bahamas. Entering the game were Jonathan Sykes, Jackner Louis and Raymond Sturrup. The home team tried to take advantage of the new players that entered into the game, but the gamble didn't pay off. The first minute in added time, Louis banged in a corner shot, extending the lead to four. With only three minutes remaining, Team Bahamas turned up the defense, shutting out the Turks and Caicos team.
Gary Brough, Head Coach of the Turks and Caicos team, said: "We got off to a good start. We played very well in the first 30 minutes and when they scored the first goal I think that made us drop our heads a little bit. They followed that up with a penalty. That 2-0 hole seemed to be a big deficit and it was hard for us to come back. We gambled a bit trying to stop plays up front and that left us exposed in the back. There are no excuses and no complaints. I give The Bahamas a lot of credit, it is a good side. We had our chances, there are no excuses."
The second game will be played at the Roscoe Davies Field, in New Providence, this coming Saturday.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian