Saint Lucia
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Team Saint Lucia “Ambassadors” Set for Tough CONCACACAF Challenge

Team Saint Lucia alongside technical unit and other SLFA staffers (Photo credit: Dave Pascal)
Team Saint Lucia alongside technical unit and other SLFA staffers (Photo credit: Dave Pascal)

Saint Lucia’s National Senior Men’s Football team has been busily preparing for a series of matches to compete in the 2023 CONCACAF Nations League, with some away games and at least three home games on the cards scheduled until this December.

Team Saint Lucia departed yesterday (Tuesday) to take on Saint Martin in an away fixture, on Thursday, as the tournament reels off. Saint Lucia competes in League B of the tournament after gaining promotion from League C in the previous competition.

The fixture for matches that Saint Lucia is scheduled to play at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground [DSCG] are as follows:

On Monday, media representatives were introduced to the squad and technical unit personnel at the Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. for an update on the developments thus far.

SLFA’s Secretary Victor Reid noted that over the past months, the entity has invested more than $1.4 million into preparing the team for a tough challenge.

He commended the players and technical staff for putting in the hard work while reminding them to stay focused and committed to the task at hand.

The SLFA general secretary described the funding support as an investment in the overall team towards achieving the goals and objectives of the association – getting a representative Saint Lucia team to compete in the FIFA World Cup.

“It’s an investment into football in Saint Lucia, it’s an investment you (players) as an individual, to help us achieve our goals and objectives,” said Reid.

He called on the players to be “ambassadors” for the country.

“We want to see you as an asset to the country and to make Saint Lucia proud,” Reid added. “We also want you to be an asset to the SLFA and to make the SLFA proud of what you have been doing for Saint Lucia.”

Noting that it will not be an easy task, nonetheless, he said, the entire country including athletes from different sports have been rallying support for the team from their previous matches in the Concacaf league competition and will continue to support the squad as they embark on their journey.

“There is a vested interest in the Saint Lucia National Men’s team, and so, you have to carry yourselves as ambassadors for the country, as ambassadors for football …and to continue to represent Saint Lucia at the highest level,” declared Reid.

He said the SLFA is committed to transitioning the team into a professional unit.

Reid told the players that several other countries began their quest for World Cup participation by climbing from the lower ranks, and Saint Lucia is no exception in that regard.

Towards that journey, he said, “Firstly, we had to have the team in a professionalised environment …an environment that is professional and for you to become professionals so that you can survive in that environment.

“We have to take that team and develop it into a professional unit … the goal now is to develop the skills set of the team, to develop you to be better, and to get you out into the world to play for professional teams and to expose you, so that as you develop you will remain with us and get to the World Cup as soon as possible.”

Head coach Stern John recalled that the Nation’s League campaign began about two months ago, whereby several young players got an opportunity to play for the Men’s Senior National team.

He noted that the workload undertaken by the players and technical unit has come to fruition and thus Saint Lucia was promoted from League C to League B as they played unbeaten in that group in that series.

John says it is important for the unit that the local players gel with the professional players, “as the international players bring in a different level of professionalism …and most of our players so far have adapted to it.”

The head coach stated that Saint Lucia has several players plying their trade professionally in the region and beyond, and bringing their international experience to the fore has allowed the local players “to take it on board and understand what they need to do to get to that level…and (function) as one team moving forward.”

Meanwhile, Team Saint Lucia’s squad for the Nation’s League tournament is as follows:

Goal Keepers: Vino Barclett – Cavaliers (Jamaica), Lamar Johnson – Concord Rangers FC (England), Darren Donaie – Northern United.

Defenders: Canius Sandiford – G.M.C. / Mabouya Valley, Alvinus Myers – Portmore United (Jamaica), Melvin Doxilly – Mount Pleasant (Jamaica), Kurt Fredrick – El Ninos /Dennery, Shanoi Evans – Arnett Gardens (Jamaica), Sebastien Ribot – Monchy FC/Gros Islet, Doneal Lionel – Monchy FC/Roseau, Terrel Thomas – Charlton Athletic (England), and Joshua Davies – Atherton Collieries (England).

Midfielders: Brendan Sandiford – G.M.C./Mabouya Valley, Gregson President – AC Port of Spain (Trinidad), Jason Similien – Roseau Valley, Leaus Henville – Platinum FC/Mabouya Valley, Lester Joseph – Portmore United (Jamaica), Bradley Nestor – New York.

Forwards:  Baggio Edward – New Generation/Gros Islet, Jevic Macfarlane – Portmore United (Jamaica), Ridel Stanislas – Piton Travel Stars/Dennery, Reeco Hackett – Lincoln FC (England), and Mahvy Rismay – Choiseul.

The technical unit includes Stern John – Head Coach, Francis “Baba” Lastic- Assistant Coach, Denver Samuel- Team Manager and other supplementary staffers.