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THE UNDER-21 FOOTBALL TEAM RETURNS FROM CUBA WITHOUT WIN

THE UNDER-21 FOOTBALL TEAM RETURNS FROM CUBA WITHOUT WIN

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Vranes blames poor preparation

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Under-21 footballers have failed to advance to the final of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Cartagena, Colombia in July 16-29.

They lost to host Cuba 0-3, and drew with Antigua/Barbuda 0-0 in Group 4 played last week in the Spanish Caribbean territory. {{more}}

SVG conceded goals in the 22nd, 50th and 78th minutes.

The team was plagued with the age-old problem that has affected Vincentian football outfits over the years: inability to score goals.

The 16-member team and the six officials returned home last Tuesday night, once again unable to do well in all age groups.

But Technical Director Zoran Vranes is lauding his charges for putting together a “good performance” especially against Cuba, whom he described as “better prepared, very experienced and had international games”, prior to the competition.

Referring to the Cubans, Vranes stated that they were mechanical in their approach.

“They were fit, they (were) playing together for the past five years, since Under-17, we couldn’t match them”, he observed.

Vranes was at the center of criticism before the team’s departure for his team selection and the deployment of his players.

Defending his stance, the Yugoslavian said, “I am using players in positions where (the) team needs, not where they feel or where they want”.

With regard to the team’s failure to score a goal in their two matches, Vranes put this down to poor preparation.

“We have no field to practice; sometimes you have no post, no nets, what is very necessary for shooting,” he charged.

Vranes in outlining the team’s performance against Antigua/Barbuda, said that he believed that several of the chances created should have been put away by the forwards.

Vranes took a dig at the authorities for their “preference” of regional cricket over World Cup participation in football.

Undaunted by the lack of facilities but still upbeat, Vranes is looking ahead to the future tournaments, as he plans to incorporate some of the players into the senior team for the hard task of the Digicel Cup qualifiers in Jamaica in September.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines will meet the host, Haiti and St. Lucia for a qualifying spot to the final, in the biennial competition.

He is certain that many can make the final cut for the Jamaica outing and looks towards World Cup qualifying rounds in 2008 and beyond.

Apart from this, the senior national women’s team journeys to Trinidad and Tobago next month for World Cup qualifiers.

Also on the national agenda is the World Cup qualifiers for the Under-20 team, set for St. Lucia in July.

The Under-17’s have an assignment in the twin-island republic in August for an international competition, with Olympic qualification set for next year for the Under-20’s.



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