St. Kitts & Nevis international Atiba Harris (front facing) celebrates with teammates after scoring for FC Dallas against host Suchitepéquez in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match on October 20, 2016, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. (Photo: Mexsport)
FRISCO, Texas – St. Kitts & Nevis remains in contention for a first-ever appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and defender/midfielder Atiba Harris believes it’s not a chance occurrence.
“The St. Kitts & Nevis FA, the administration, head coach Jacques Passy and the players are all to be credited by our rise as being one of the top ranked Caribbean nations,” said the 31-year-old, who helped FC Dallas reach the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals by scoring in a 5-2 win at Guatemala’s Suchitepequez on October 20. “I believe with Passy, we have established a proper direction and we are finding that with this philosophy we are starting to reap the rewards.
“When I made my debut back in 2003, we were in the 130s. Now being ranked 73rd in the world and second in the Caribbean is a special achievement.”
With a win in Group 2 against visiting Haiti on November 13, depending on the final score, the Sugar Boyz could qualify directly to the 2017 edition. The third-round match was originally scheduled to take place on October 11, but was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew-related reasons.
First, though, Haiti will host French Guiana – a 1-0 winner over St. Kitts & Nevis – on November 9. If French Guiana is victorious in that encounter, St. Kitts & Nevis will have to beat Haiti in order to maintain any hope of securing a spot in the Caribbean fifth-place playoff.
“At this point in time, we are not overly concerned about what happens in the Haiti and French Guiana game,” Harris commented. “Whatever happens will happen. After that game, we will see what we need to do and take things from there. There are a lot of positives to take from 2016. We have only conceded 1 goal all year and we have proven we are no pushovers in CONCACAF. I believe in time we will be a force to be reckoned with in the region.”
A spot in the Gold Cup will accelerate that plan.