St. Vincent & the Grenadines (pictured) celebrates after scoring in Caribbean Cup match against Anguilla on September 5, 2014, in St. John's, Antigua &Barbuda. (Photo: Thaddeus Price)
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Eastern Caribbean neighbors Barbados and St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) will renew an old rivalry when they clash in a pair of international friendlies at the National Stadium here this weekend.
The archrivals will play their first friendly on Friday night before squaring off again Sunday.
As expected, both teams will use the doubleheader as a major plank in their preparation for their upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
St. Vincent is slated to face Guyana in the second round of the qualifiers in June, and technical director Keith Ollivierre said the two games would be used to assess the squad.
“We’re on the road to the World Cup qualifiers coming up in June so we’re basically looking at the friendlies as a way of analysing what we have been doing so far and to see if the players are grasping what we are trying to accomplish,” he said. “[They] will give the coaching staff also another way of looking at more players and evaluating whether or not they can make the final squad.
“We are in a rebuilding process. We are putting in place a structure where in the next five or six years you can have [another generation of stars] emerging.”
SVG is expected to feature exciting striker Myron Samuel, who plies his trade with Rendevous FC in the Barbados Premier League. The 22-year-old has already scored four goals in three outings this season.
Midfielder Emerald George, who also plays for Rendevous, has also been included in the SVG squad.
Barbados, meanwhile, is just weeks away from its first-round qualifying opener against the U.S. Virgin Islands, and technical director Marcos Falopa believes the friendlies will be invaluable in the build-up to that contest.
“We’ve used the whole week to prepare. It will not be an easy game because we know that St Vincent in the [FIFA] rankings are in a better position than us,” the Brazilian noted. “It will be a good challenge for us but it will be good preparation for our match in the qualification [tournament] for the World Cup.”
The engagements come on the heels of Barbados’ 2-2 draw with visiting Guyana last month.