Alpha United head coach Wayne Dover (polo shirt) addresses his players during a recent training session.
PROVIDENCE, Guyana -- Guyana’s Alpha United continues to lead the way as the flag bearer for the ‘Land of Many Waters’.
Its qualification as one of the of Caribbean Football Union’s three representatives to the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) has been met with joy by head coach Wayne Dover, club management and players.
Alpha, as well as Waterhouse FC (Jamaica) and Puerto Rico Bayamon FC (Puerto Rico), earned progression as a result of winning their respective groups in the 2014 CFU Club Championship last month.
On Monday, it was announced that the trio would advance automatically rather than have to play a final stage with Haiti’s Valencia.
Since the Fédération Haïtienne de Football did not confirm Valencia was an active member of its association, the CFU Executive Committee -- after consultation with CONCACAF officials – decided to allot the regional body’s CCL places to those teams that topped their first-round groups.
The original plan called for the semifinal winners and the winner of the match for third place to receive the region’s berths in the confederation competition.
Dover spoke to CONCACAF.com about his team’s achievement, noting that it came simpler than expected.
“We are overjoyed having learnt about the good news from our President, Mr. Odinga Lumumba,” said Dover. “It has come easier than we have anticipated, but my charges have been training very hard towards such qualification.”
It will be the second time that Alpha has qualified for the CCL, participating previously in the 2011/12 edition.
Many factors played a role in The Hammer’s achievement, which came as result of Group 3 wins over Trinidad & Tobago’s Defence Force and Harbour View of Jamaica.
“We spent a lot of time on defensive organization because we know that the teams were very organized and fit,” Dover noted. “They also play in a much more professional environment, so we felt that as long as we organized defensively and stuck to our game plan and work as a group, we can achieve our objective.”
One of the keys to Alpha’s success was Grenada international Kithson Bain. The 31-year-old, who scored a goal in both CFU games, is one of the most feared forwards in the region. He played in the group stage during the current edition of the CCL with Trinidadian side Caledonia AIA.
“His addition to the team means a whole lot because he is very experienced and adds lots of spice to our offense,” commented Dover. “He is no doubt one of the best we have in the Caribbean.”
Another integral pillar of the Alpha team is forward Gregory Richardson. The Guyana international has seven career CCL goals and his experience at this level has been indispensable.
“I can safely say the same thing about Gregory like I mentioned about Kithson in terms of his knowledge and skills,” Dover added. “He has come of age and is showing a lot of maturity so having him on the team really works well for us.
“Though he has not scored in any of these games his contributions are well documented. He has featured in a number of assists too. One of the goals came from a free kick that he took where Kithson had a simple tap in and that in itself shows that his presence was felt.”
Dover believes that hard work and overall club support are reasons for Alpha’s continued success.
“I think this is justice in terms of us qualifying,” he finished. “We’ve spent the hours preparing, so I think this really means a lot to us and Guyana by extension.
“We see ourselves as the flag carriers for this nation and we are happy to play such a role and will continue to see how best we can put our nation back on the map of football."