Barbados upbeat for Caribbean Cup

Barbados will open second-round play in the Caribbean Cup on October 8, 2014, against St. Kitts & Nevis in Haiti. (Photo courtesy of Barbados Today)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Barbados will have to do without England-based Emmerson Boyce for Caribbean Football Union Caribbean Cup, second-round qualifiers that kick-off Wednesday.

The defender, who plays for Wigan Athletic, picked up an injury recently and is unavailable for the Group 8 play in Haiti.

However, head coach Colin Forde said that while Boyce’s absence would be a blow to the side, he was still confident of a good showing.

“It’s a loss,” said Forde.  “Boyce is a very experienced player and a very strong defender, but I believe the youngsters will do a good job.”

Barbados advanced to this stage thanks to a second-place finish in Group 3, first-round play last month in Martinique.  A 4-1 win over Bonaire, after opening with just a point from the first two games, enabled the Barbadians to secure progression.

Since returning home, Barbados has been training on a regular basis for nearly three weeks and Forde believes those preparations will bode well for upcoming performances.

“The guys are in good spirits and we’re just preparing ourselves physically and mentally because we know it is going to be a difficult task for us, but God’s willing we will pull it off,” he expressed.

Barbados faces a tough assignment to reach the finals.  It will face Group 6 winner St. Kitts & Nevis (October 8), host Haiti (October 10) and Group 4 runner-up French Guiana (October 12).

“We must look at Haiti because they are the home team and they will have the home crowd behind them,” noted Forde, assessing the group.  “St Kitts is a very good side also and French Guiana is a team that you cannot underestimate.  We are not going to underestimate any of the teams.  We’re just going to go and play our game and hopefully that will be good enough to take us through.”