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Heat gearing up for Young Soca Warriors

Heat gearing up for Young Soca Warriors

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The St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Male Under-20 Football Team will engage its Trinidad and Tobago counterparts this Friday night, November 19, from 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Park.{{more}}

This will be the first leg of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Qualifiers, in preparation for the Central CONCACAF Competition, with the second leg set for Trinidad and Tobago, November 26.

Under the guidance of Coach Kendale Mercury, who has been in charge for the last two months, and his assistant Cornelius Huggins, the Vincentians have been in training for the past six months, with several live-in weekend camps.

Looking ahead to Friday’s first match, Mercury told SEARCHLIGHT last Sunday that he will be hoping that his team use its home advantage, as they have done previously at the Victoria Park.

Mercury said he was confident going into the competition, despite his charges’ inexperience.

“They are inexperienced, as many of them have only played in the various leagues, but I think that we have the pace done enough to hold our own,” Mercury said.

“With the five weekend camps, our fitness is good to satisfactory, and with an average of 12 on the beep test, I am pretty satisfied,” Mercury said.

“We have the pace upfront, and once we can discipline, keep the shape at the back, we can do well,” Mercury stated.

Mercury is looking to his experienced players like US/UK based Akil Howard, Nicol Stephens, Valdo Anderson, Antonio Douglas and Myron Samuel to carry the fight to the Trinidadians.

All were part of Mercury’s last Under-20 team of 2008-2009, with Samuel graduating to senior team status since 2008.

While the local team match preparation has been confined to encounters with home-based club outfits, Mercury thinks that gelling of the team is important, as the funds available to the team for friendly internationals were disbursed to keep the players as a unit in camp settings.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is vying for a spot in the next phase, as the winner of their two-match-tie, faces off with the winner of the double matches between Aruba and Suriname.

Last Saturday, Suriname beat their counterparts 3-1 to have a foothold in the next round.

The loser of the double games goes to the play-off phase, which includes the Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda, and Guyana, to decide the Caribbean’s last of five berths. The play-off round is expected to be in January.

Cuba, fellow regional qualifiers Guadeloupe and Jamaica, host Guatemala and North American entrants Canada, Mexico and the United States are already through to the 12-team field.

Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama, will contest the Central American Zone for the remaining spots.

The last Under-20 outing in 2008-2009, saw this country emerging runners-up to Jamaica in the CFU finals held here in January last year. It was St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ best showing for any local football team that participated in regional Football competitions.

The Vincentians then lost the one-off match against Honduras, which would have earned them a spot in the CONCACAF Finals, ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which was staged in Egypt also, in 2009. (RT)