Heat in the place
The steam is rising as St Vincent and the Grenadines’ senior men’s football team Vincy Heat is positioning itself in group four of tier B of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League.
After two matches, Vincy Heat are sitting on four points, tallied from a 1-1 draw away to Nicaragua last Thursday evening, and within 72 hours, had the better of Dominica 1-0, here at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.
Infringed by the tight travel schedule for the team to return from Nicaragua to be in the best frame of mind, notwithstanding fatigue, and to get a positive versus Dominica last Sunday, is commendable.
Too, having most of the starting eleven back on the island a mere 20 hours prior to kick-off, surely was not a good fillip for the Vincentian outfit.
In addition, the brute force of the sun last Sunday, did not make it better for the Vincentians, as the Dominicans had the luxury of being on the island on Friday.
The preceding conditions would have and definitely impacted negatively on Sunday’s match, as for those who viewed it would not be shouting for joy for what they saw from both teams.
But for the Vincentians, a win is a win, and the one-nil score-line stands in history, as Vincy Heat are unbeaten from their two matches.
Putting things into proper perspective, it has been a fair sojourn for the team, despite not having the luxury of other factors which would have at least assured success.
However, the team though has Suriname to meet in its next round.
After the two rounds, Suriname lead the pack with maximum six points.
The Surinamese had a 2-1 away win over Dominica in Roseau, but steamrolled Nicaragua 6-0 in Suriname last Sunday.
These results are clear, that if St Vincent and the Grenadines’ team is to top the group and get a crack at being promoted to tier A, then the ties versus Suriname, are the acid test.
Vincy Heat face Suriname here on October 11, with the return fixture carded for October 14 in Suriname.
Here is where the Vincentians’ mettle will be tested.
It also means that St Vincent and the Grenadines have to come with their A game in both matches, as maximum points, would be the order of the day.
Does the Vincentian team possess the will, the skill and mental capacity to put together performances against Suriname next month that can ensure victories?
Surely, whilst there might be some doubters, it is very possible.
Head coach Kendale Mercury, along with the other members of his technical team, has to be astute in their planning for the back to back matches with Suriname.
One would readily gave Mercury and company plaudits for doing the necessary scouting and strategic planning to counteract what the Suriamese have in the offing.
Similarly, the players’ focus has to be in the right place in order for them to conjure up the desired outcomes.
Critically, as well, all the necessary support must be thrown behind the team.
Also certain will be the support of the sport loving Vincentian public which has been enough for the past eight months or so, by way of results, to continue to rally behind Vincy Heat.
So whilst ultimately the players and the coaching staff are the one responsible directly for final results, the powers that be though have to play their part in ensuring that the best preparations are put in place, to give the team the maximum possible favourable results.
Conversely, Suriname would have similarly assessed that St Vincent and the Grenadines appear to be their biggest threat as well and will equally be preparing for the two encounters.
Therefore they are gunning to maintain their top of the table status as St Vincent and the Grenadines eye toppling them from their winning streak.
Success is not cheap, hence all the stops must be pulled out if Vincy Heat are expected to be on top by October 14.
Rallying around the team at this juncture is paramount as they endeavour to put smiles on the faces here at home and in the Diaspora.