The four Cayman footballers based at the legendary Brazilian club Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro, are still doing well and have been joined by a fifth Olympic squad member.
David McLaughlin, Jedd Ebanks, Gabriel Godet, Jason Ebanks have welcomed their Elite club mate Benjamin Cupid who flew out over the weekend and will stay with the others until their return just before Christmas.
All are doing well, particularly Godet who scored an amazing goal in a training game two weeks ago which impressed the coaches.
Thiago Cunha, technical director of women’s football in Cayman, made the two month stay possible as he is a former Vasco player and youth coach and has strong links with the club as his father was also a player there for 13 years.
‘The latest information is that they are performing excellent, training six times a week, Monday to Saturday and they are watching the Brazilian professional league Vasco games, at Vasco’s Sao Januario Stadium,’ he said. ‘They are playing against the seniors and Under-20 team and learning a lot. Vasco have six national players training with the U-20 team and of course, Romario and the Argentinian midfielder Dario Conca, so they are learning from the best.’
Romario is an amazing character. At 41 he is still knocking them in despite reaching the 1,000 goal mark and two weeks ago became interim coach after Celso Roth was fired. So the Caymanians are still seeing an icon in transition.
Cunha is pleased that they are getting this experience. He feels they will be far better players for the national senior and U-23 sides when international matches resume in the New Year ‘because they are working and doing what professionals are doing. Everybody lives together in a big house, eats together and it’s excellent for them.’
He added: ‘I spoke with the coach last week and he is very impressed with Gabriel and Jason. He said they have excellent touch and ball control. He thinks they have the potential to play professionally. They won’t get in at Vasco though because their standard is too high. They have 60 professional players on their payroll.
‘It’s good they’re getting this professional experience because when they come back to Cayman they will be much better. They’ll be able to pass on tips to the others which is one of the objectives of sending them out there.
‘Benjamin is a very good player. He played well in all three Olympic qualifiers in Cuba. He’s young and can improve.’
Cunha is going to Brazil next month and taking with him for a week’s coaching course East End’s Brian Watler and keeper Jeremy Miller for professional training.