Anguilla to launch new era Tuesday at Guyana

Anguilla team manager Nigel Linton, head coach Leon Jeffers and team captain Kevin Hawley at a press conference on March 21, 2016.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Anguilla is not about to let memories of a distant setback to Guyana have any bearing when the sides meet again Tuesday in the CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup, Group 5 opener for each.

Nearly 18 years ago, Anguilla suffered its heaviest-ever loss to the Guyanese, falling 0-14 in the same competition. Today, the Anguillians are in the midst of a youth movement, with a focus on building towards qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“We have our objective set out. We have worked tirelessly and with a young team we are here to do our best to put our country first and represent in the best way possible,” team manager Nigel Linton said at a press conference Monday. “It’s always difficult for an association or federation to decide when it’s time to rebuild, when it’s time to move forward from what you already had or the players you have had before. We have started our preparation already for 2022. Long term succession planning is always effective.”

After 10 weeks of training, captain Kevin Hawley is excited to lead the group into a new era.

“We are confident in our abilities,” commented the 35-year-old, a veteran of four World Cup Qualifying campaigns. “We are confident that we can compete against Guyana and expect a good result. We just look forward to do our best for our country, for our families, for ourselves and make the most of this opportunity.”

After facing Guyana, Anguilla will complete first-round play against visiting Puerto Rico on March 26 at the Raymond E. Guishard Technical Center.