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Vincy Heat set to take on Mexico

Vincy Heat set to take on Mexico

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by Rohan “Roache” Thomas

St.Vincent and the Grenadines face Mexico tomorrow at the Pachuca Stadium in Mexico City, in what will be a monumental task for the local lads to overcome the continental powerhouse.
A task which is not beyond them, granted the impressive showing against Trinidad and Tobago last month.{{more}}
The vincentians let off the visitors with a 2-0 triumph, after not making the best of some easy goal-scoring opportunities.
The mood in the vincentian camp is one of optimism, as preparations were in full gear for this their second match in Group C of the CONCACAF Qualifiers to the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ record against their opponents is not one to shout about.
In four previous encounters, dating back to 1992, the Mexicans have scored 23 goals against the vincentians.
Kendall Velox’s goal in Mexico in 1996, is the only one the vincentians have to show.
Coach Aide Shaw is not overawed by the record; instead has adopted a philosophical approach to tomorrow’s match.
He sees it “as eleven versus eleven”.
“We make good players better when we give them space to manoeuvre,” Shaw remarked, during his team’s final training session in sweltering heat at the Westminster Academy Ground in Fort Lauderdale, Wednesday.
However, the English born Shaw is more concerned with the high altitude conditions which exist in Mexico. “I am worried, because we are not going to play in normal conditions,” he said.
The high altitude, coupled with the current medical conditions of some of the players, are proving taxing on the brains of the technical staff.
Mexico City is located 2300 Metres above sea-level, which means that the air contains 30% less oxygen. In addition, the temperature at this time of year is about15 degrees Celsius.
The other worry is the fitness of defender Burton Forde, who is still nursing a side strain suffered in the last match against Trinidad.
After a twelve hour trek back to St. Vincent on Sunday, the team will have to get ready to face St.Kitts on Wednesday at Arnos Vale.
Also on Saturday, Trinidad and Tobago play St. Kitts in Basseterre, as action in Group C continues.
The vincentian team, renamed ‘Vincy Heat’ , travelled to the Central American city yesterday, following a five day training camp in Florida, on medical advice to help cushion the effects of the atmospheric conditions in Mexico .
Fifteen of the players departed St. Vincent last Saturday morning and were later joined by their overseas- based team mates.
The team has a few changes from the one which faced Trinidad and Tobago last month.Returning to the squad are Goalkeeper Melvin Andrews, and midfielder Wesley John. Both missed the last encounter due to yellow card infringements, picked up in the Nicaragua tie in June.
Andrews replaces Under -20 custodian Kenyan Lynch,who was Fitz Bramble’s deputy in first leg against Trinidad and Tobago.
Bramble-a diplomat at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consulate in Washington and a veteran of national football, was recalled to the squad to face Trinidad, owing to Andrews’ ineligibility.
Bramble, nearing 42, retains his place in the squad.
Absent is stalwart defender Cornelius Huggins. His place has been taken by Greg Myers.
The full squad reads:Melvin Andrews, Fitz Bramble, Ezra Hendrickson, Burton Forde, Brent Samuel, Greg Myers, Randy Pierre, Wesley Charles, Kenlyn Gonsalves, Vincent John, Tyrone Prince, Howie Williams, Wesley John, Darren Francis, Kendall Velox, Rodney Jack, Shandel Samuel, Renson Haynes, Alwyn Guy, and Jamal Ballantyne.
Technical Director Ces Podd, Head Coach Aide Shaw, Coach Roger Gurley, Fitness Coach Mick Matthews, Doctor/Physiotherapist Michael Galeo, and Kit Manager-Garth Olliver make up the technical team.
The administrative party includes Manager Maxim James, Assistant Manager Leopold Dopwell and Spanish Interpreter – Roxel John.
Saturday’s match will be the home team’s first in this round as their match versus St. Kitts which was set for August18, was postponed to November.
Mexico, currently number 8, in FIFA’s World Rankings and World Cup finalists 12 times, reached this stage of the CONCACAF grouping, with an 18-0 drubbing of Dominica.
Ousted 4-0 by Brazil in the Quarter Finals of the Copa America back in July, Mexico were forced to call up five players to replace those injured from its original squad. The host will choose from Oswaldo Shanchez, Moises Munroz, Hugo Sanchez, Ismael Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez, Salvador Carmona, Carlos Salcido, Hector Altamirano, Gonzalo Pineda, Mario Perez, Pavel Pardo, Israel Lopez, Antonio Naelson, Luis Perez, Adolfo Bautista, Jared Borgetti, Sergio Santana, Daniel Osorno.Coach- Ricardo Lavolpe.

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