Barbados (yellow jersey) in World Cup Qualifying action at the U.S. Virgin Islands on March 26, 2015, in Charlotte Amalie. (Photo: Aisha-Zakiya Boyd
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Barbados’ preparation for the second round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying will accelerate on Sunday, when it faces St. Kitts & Nevis in an international friendly at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
It will be the fourth friendly international of the year for Barbadians, who drew with Guyana (2-2) in February, before beating and tying St. Vincent & the Grenadines (3-1, 2-2) the following month.
Randy Harris, president of the Barbados Football Association, said his organization was sparing no effort in ensuring that the national squad is fully prepared for its qualifier on June 8against Aruba.
“We have to look at ways of giving the team match practice compared to the level of football that we will be facing in the second round, so we have taken this opportunity to play St Kitts, who have offered to come to Barbados because they need the preparation games also,” Harris told CONCACAF.com. “It is a pretty expensive exercise, but it is something that we have to do. In the past, it has been more difficult, but since we have been getting more help from CONCACAF and FIFA with the preparation of teams and the development of football, we have made some sacrifices that we think are necessary for our teams to perform well.”
In order to advance beyond the first round of qualifying, Barbados bounced back from a 1-0 loss at home to the U.S. Virgin Islands with a 4-0 win in the away leg.
Barbados has now trained its sights on Aruba, a team that did not progress past the first stage four years ago.
“We are very confident,” stressed Harris. “We think that we are on the right path in our preparation and development. We have a young team, but an experienced technical director (Brazilian Marcos Falopa), who has brought a lot to the table and, of course, we believe we are capable of competing with just about any team in this region on our level.
“We are still amateurs, but we have the talent and I believe the players have the drive in order to play at their optimum.”
St Kitts advanced to the second round by virtue of a 12-4 aggregate triumph over Turks & Caicos Islands.