Mercury undaunted by SVG’s place in “ group of death”
Head coach of the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior men’s football team Kendale Mercury, is not daunted by the prospects that his team has been drawn against the likes of Curacao, Guatemala, Cuba and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), in the CONCACAF Zone of the World Cup Qualifiers.
SVG will begin with an away fixture versus Curacao on October 8, and will host the BVI on October 13.
On November 13, SVG will be away to Guatemala and take on Cuba here at home, on November 17.
Mercury, despite admitting that his team has ended in the “group of death”, promises to prepare his charges as best as possible.
Looking at the four opponents, “Curacao is an improving team and is the favourite… They have played in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2017, 2019 and are in the 2021 edition… We have never beaten Guatemala; Cuba is a formidable team, while the BVI has some US-based college players and cannot be taken lightly”.
Not one to back down from a challenge, Mercury is up to it to take on the four teams, and see it as opportunities to achieve some personal goals, as well as for the country.
“It will be good for us and to tactically beat the renowned Guus Hiddink (Curacao’s coach) or beat Guatemala or defeat Cuba,” Mercury pointed out.
Mercury projected that getting out of the blocks well, will set the tone for his team’s sojourn, hence it would not be a “photo moment”, when St Vincent and the Grenadines face Curacao.
According to Mercury, he has analogised the qualifiers with that of a sprint race in athletics.
“If we get out of the blocks well and get a favourable result against Curacao, we can pick up from there, but we have to start well,” Mercury related.
His reasoning is strengthened by the nature of the group, as he noted, “with those big teams, they will hurt one another”, which can work in our favour.
But Mercury is cognisant that preparation is key if St Vincent and the Grenadines is to do well.
Acknowledging that his team is somewhat behind in its preparation, Mercury revealed an increase in intensity from here on in.
“We have stepped up the training, with three times in the gym and three times on the park,” Mercury disclosed.
He said that a camp is planned for sometime in September to bind the team, as well as get the players to focus on the task at hand.
The first round of the qualifiers involve 30 of the CONCACAF teams, placed in six groups of five.
Only the first place team will advance to the second round.
The second round will be a one-off elimination, with the three winners advancing to meet USA, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica and Costa Rica, in a round robin home and away tie.
The top three teams will gain tickets to the World Cup finals in Qatar 2022, with the fourth place involved in an inter-continental play-off for the possibility of another spot.