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Sardine: Canadians a tough draw, but beatable


First Vice President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, Ian Sardine, has described this country’s second round assignment with Canada next year in the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers as a “tough draw”, but believes that the Canadians are “beatable”.{{more}}

And, the draw, which was made public recently in the host nation of South Africa, has jolted the SVGFF into a proactive mood.

“What the draw has done, it has caused us to step up our level of preparation quicker than we had anticipated”, Sardine told SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday.

Sardine, who holds the portfolio for technical matters of the newly elected executive of the SVGFF, said that they would have to look for more formidable opponents to engage in friendly encounters, leading up to the meeting with the number 55 ranked team of FIFA’s table, Canada.

“We have to look to play teams from Central America and Caribbean… teams like Cuba for good competition, as the others in the region would not provide us what we are looking for”, Sardine said.

He contends that the draw, matching up us with Canada, “is a better option than the USA or Mexico”.

Despite this, Sardine said that the entire technical staff and the players cannot take things for granted and should make every effort to do well in the tie.

He disclosed that a concerted effort would be made to have the best available players at their disposal; with advances being sought to get every player that is eligible to play for St. Vincent and the Grenadines added to the list of options.

Former President of the SVGFF, St. Clair Leacock, before he was deposed last month, had indicated that there was a cadre of players in England who have indicated an interest in representing this country.

Sardine said that this avenue would still be pursued, but with caution, as financial recompense for these players always poses problems.

However, he said that the current crop of overseas based professionals would be targetted early, even for the warm up matches.

Sardine said the draw also aids St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as there is a large Vincentian population in Canada, and in neighbouring USA.

“Since the draw, we have been getting calls from Vincentians in Canada, who are excited to have our team coming there”, Sardine revealed.

This is the first occasion that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has met such a high ranked team in the opening fixture. On the four previous outings at World Cup Qualifiers, this country has played countries from the Caribbean Football Union grouping, except in 2004, when Nicaragua was their first round opponent.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

has advanced to the group stages on all four outings, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines team is currently in training four times per week, under interim coach Roger Gurley. A Technical Director is expected to be announced in a few weeks time. (RT)