Barbados upbeat for Caribbean Cup, Curacao visit
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Barbados (pictured) reached the second round of the 2014 CFU Men's Caribbean Cup. (Photo courtesy of the Barbados Football Association).

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Barbados is bracing for a first-round challenge from Curacao on Wednesday night, when they open Group 4 play in the 2016/17 CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup.

With the visitor expected to demonstrate the flair and ingenuity associated with its head coach -- former Barcelona and Netherlands star Patrick Kluivert -- Barbados remains confident of securing a positive result in front of the home fans at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.

England-based defender Emmerson Boyce said crowd support would be critical in the bid to beat Curacao.

“With Patrick Kluivert, the style is placed on his team is pretty much a Dutch style,” remarked the 36-year-old, who ended a nine-year association with Wigan Athletic last season and now plays for League One Blackpool.  “It will be a good education for us in terms of watching how they play.  We want to test ourselves.  We want to show everybody how good we are on our home ground.  Hopefully, the whole community can come out and the whole country can get behind the team.  That’s what we need and hopefully we can get the result.”

Goalkeeper Keasel Broome echoed similar sentiments, noting that he expected Kluivert’s influence to be evident. 

“I expect them having a Dutch coach to have a lot of Dutch influence,” said the former New York Cosmos custodian.  “They will play that passing game.  They will like to have possession and will like to impose their will on the game from the start.  That’s what I am expecting from them.” 

Barbados have selected their strongest side possible, with the likes of Boyce and Broome joining top domestic players like Mario Harte and Jamal Chandler.

Veteran Boyce made a point to note that the team spirit is noticeably high, which also augurs well for the second game at the Dominican Republic at March 29.

“All the feedback I’ve heard is really positive and really good. Everybody just wants to play,” he stressed.  “There are some new faces in the squad from last time and they want to show how good they are.  We’ve got such great talent here and sooner than later, there will be a next big star coming out of the country.

“I’m going to Dominica Republic as well.  I’m playing the two games and hopefully we can progress to the next rounds and hopefully I can be involved.”