Antigua & Barbuda (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Aruba in aScotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup match on March 23, 2016. (Photo: Thaddeus Price)
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua & Barbuda – After a 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup, third-round opening loss at Curacao (1W-0D-0L, 3 points), Antigua & Barbuda (0-0-1, 0) must win Saturday, when Puerto Rico (0-0-0, 0) visits the Antigua Recreation Ground.
Anything less than maximum points and the Benna Boys will be eliminated from the competition, falling short of qualifying for their first-ever CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Technical director Rolston Williams says the team must put Wednesday’s result in the rear-view mirror and focus forward.
“We have to move on,” the 51-year-old remarked. “We cannot afford to reflect on our recent result. We truly lacked that creativity in the midfield on Wednesday, but that is the past. We are focused on correcting our errors against Puerto Rico and get three points and then, after that, we will see what happens.”
If Antigua wins, Curacao would reach the semifinals and gain a Gold Cup berth by beating Puerto Rico on Tuesday. That scenario would eliminate the Antiguans from Caribbean Cup contention, but could put them into November’s fifth-place playoff for an opportunity to meet Central America’s fifth-place side for the last 2017 Gold Cup spot.
The Gold Cup is Antigua’s top priority.
“If you look at our recent history since 2008, in the Caribbean Cup we have made huge strides in this competition,“ finished Williams. “We have gotten closer and closer to that lucrative top four. With the new format this year, the Gold Cup chances is now increased and that is our number one aim. This would do wonders for football in our country.”
The only Leeward Island to qualify for the CONACAF Gold Cup is Guadeloupe.