St. Lucia (pictured) in Caribbean Cup action against Antigua & Barbuda on October 8, 2014, in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: Allan V. Crane)
CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Top-flight football is coming to St. Lucia as it prepares to welcome the 2015 Windward Islands Men's Championship to the Philip Marcellin Grounds in Vieux Fort, May 12-16.
The four-team competition, which also includes Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, is being used as preparation for the second round of qualifying in CONCACAF for the next FIFA World Cup.
Lyndon Cooper, president of the St. Lucia Football Association, is delighted that his country is hosting the third edition of the competition, since it was revived two years ago by the Windward Islands Football Association.
“We’re definitely excited because it is actually our tournament,” expressed Cooper. “We just knew that once our turn came that we would be able to deliver one of the most wonderful tournaments that we’ve had.”
Grenada won the competition in 2013, topping St. Lucia on the head-to-head tiebreaker after both teams finished with six points following round-robin play. The St. Lucians rebounded last year, capturing the crown with a 2W-1D-0L record.
An opportunity to retain the trophy on home soil is a significant motivator to Cooper.
“As you know, we are actually defending the championships,” he said. “We think that the fact that it is being played in St. Lucia at the time we are defending it, we expect to see some brilliant football with the national team.”
The rationale used in deciding to bring back the competition has proved to be prophetic as all four of the competitors are still competing for places at Russia 2018.
“It is very much important for all of us, St. Lucia in particular,” Cooper finished. “That’s one of the reasons why we made the decision three years ago to revive the Windward Islands simply because we would use those competitions as the training ground for international engagements.”
2015 WINDWARD ISLANDS MEN’S FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
May 12-16, 2015
Tuesday -- May 12, 2015
Grenada v St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 5:00 p.m.
St. Lucia v Dominica, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday -- May 14, 2015
Grenada v Dominica, 6:00 p.m.
St. Lucia v St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday -- May 16, 2015
Dominica v St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 6:00 p.m.
St. Lucia v Grenada, 8:30 p.m