Cayman’s national football team is preparing for its most crucial match in years – against Bermuda in a World Cup qualifier.
That happens at the soon-to-be-opened Truman Bodden on 30 March. In the meantime Cayman’s series of matches will get them in the past shape possible to defend the 1-1 draw they got in Bermuda in the first leg. Cayman only need a 0-0 draw to go through.
Over the weekend, Boys Town, the top Jamaican Premier League side from Trench Town, played two matches against a variety of Caymanians as part of the build up.
Both games were at North Side Playing Field. Saturday’s was a Cayman Select, comprising of national team players, Cayman-based ex-pats – mostly Jamaicans – and an assortment of league players. Boys Town won 2-1. Oniel McDonald opened for Boys Town midway through the first half. Wayne ‘Bigga’ Smith stroked a perfectly weighted through ball to Gabriel Godet outpaced a defender to hit a superb low shot for the equalizer just before the break. Shawn McKoy rounded off a fine move by Boys Town immediately after half time to seal victory. A scant crowd turned up for that one but on Sunday all roads led to North Side.
Around 1,500 reached and although the game was not that entertaining, there were enough highlights to make the long trek worthwhile. Boys Town won that 3-0 with goals coming from Renae Lloyd, Denzil Watson and Captain Michael Campbell.
Cayman had its moments. Carson Fagan was the most dangerous striker until getting substituted near the end. Gabriel Godet did well again and Martin Waud’s long range shot in the first half was just wide. Cayman captain Tom Elliot was as vocal and dominant as ever at centre back and Rene Carter, Ian Lindo, Richard Grant, Justin Pierre and Eric Brown all showed good touches.
Cayman technical director Carl Brown was satisfied with his sides against the semi-pro Jamaicans.
‘Both matches were pretty good for us,’ he said. ‘Last night I was able to see a lot of players that I hadn’t seen before. Now the numbers have increased and the choices we’ve got have widened. These two were what we were looking for, to expose the players and on the day, against Bermuda, we’ll know the best we’ll have to choose from.
‘We saw the Boys Town team tonight and how their movement is just fantastic and it’s something that we have to learn to do. We have to improve our movements off the ball and prepare for people who are moving off the ball and how we are going to deal with them.
‘I believe Carson Fagan is trying. There’s a lot of expectation on him. We’re trying to get him to concentrate for long periods. He hasn’t done that and disappointed a lot of people but he has been working very hard. I’m very happy with what I got from him tonight.’
Andrew Price is the Boys Town coach. He said: ‘I like your central defenders. They are very good. They seem to communicate well, they’re very sturdy and imposing. I also like Fagan who played centre forward. He has good presence and was a good aerial threat.
‘I think Cayman got behind the ball a lot and they’re the type of team that never stops running. Even though Boys Town dominated the game for the entire 90 minutes, you put us under pressure for the entire time and made us play honest and safe and that’s a good sign that there are committed players out there willing to run throughout the game. I’m very optimistic of your chances of moving on to the next round when you face Bermuda. Hopefully, if all the Caymanians turn out and support the team in a big way, I’m sure the twelfth man on the day will come into effect.’
Price denied that Boys Town got little out of these matches. ‘This tour was very useful. We got what we came here for. We wanted to get a lot of unity in the side and gel as we push for the Premier League title.’
Boys Town is behind Portmore and Tivoli Gardens and third tied with Waterhouse.
‘Right now we’re getting ready to push for the league title with about 18 more games to go. We’re enjoying a very good run. Been unbeaten for the last five games and want to continue. We used this tour as good training sessions for the remainder of the season.’