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HEAT WAVE!

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Vincentians are hoping that a heat wave of a good nature will blow across the Arnos Vale Playing Field this Sunday afternoon, between the hours of three o’ clock and five o’ clock, and bring Vincy Heat a victory against Canada in the first leg of the second round of the CONCACAF Zone of the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers.{{more}}

Borrowing a slogan from US Presidential nominee Barack Obama’s campaign, “Yes we Can”, the technical staff , the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation and the players are holding firmly to this belief.

Realistically, though, the local team starts as second raters against, contextually, their more illustrious opponents.

Technical Director of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines unit Stewart John Hall is not daunted by the statistics, acknowledging that his team are the underdogs.

He dismisses the recent losses to Jamaica and Cuba in friendly internationals as part of the players’ learning curve.

“The losses have had no psychological effects on us because we were experimenting with players and systems”, Hall remarked with some conviction.

“We used the matches as training exercises”, Hall, in the post for the last four months stated.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was beaten by Jamaica 5-1 and by Cuba 1-0, leading up to this Sunday’s match.

“I have learnt a lot of me (my) players; many are questioning about themselves,” he admitted.

It was an optimistic Hall who told SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday night that his charges have backbone and can wage a strong challenge against the 60th ranked team according to FIFA ‘s latest World Rankings.

“We are getting good shape. We know what we have to do but we have to execute”, stated Hall, in his distinctive British accent.

“We are starting to gel together”, the Technical Director opined.

And, Hall has ammunition in his artillery which he thinks can work in his team’s favour.

He dismissed the notion that the Canadians could wilt under the mid afternoon sun, and pointed to the fact that the Canadians were in Miami for the past two weeks acclimatizing.

Hall also does not want to harp too much on the abilities of his opposing players, but confessed that they have a cadre of players who are talented.

However, Hall stressed that Vincy Heat playing as a team can make the difference between individual abilities and teamwork.

“I see Sunday as a great challenge for me and I am really looking forward to it’, he added.

“Everyone has to play to the best of his ability”, Hall said.

The Vincentian team will hinge around experienced players Wesley Charles, Cornelius Huggins, Marlon James, Melvin Andrews, Alwyn Guy and Kendall Velox.

The twenty one member training squad went into camp last Wednesday, following the team’s tour of Jamaica and Cuba.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has advanced to the semi final stage of the Confederation’s Zone on its four previous World Cup sojourns in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

However, with a restructured format governing the qualifiers, never before has St. Vincent and the Grenadines been matched against such formidable opposition in their opening fixture.

Sunday’s match begins at 3 pm. The return leg will be played in Montreal, Canada, next week Friday, June 20. (RT)

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