It’s a tough challenge, but Cayman are up for it. The national footballers are off to Guadeloupe for the second round of the Digicel Cup. In Group F they face Martinique on October 11, then the hosts two days later and Grenada on October 15. All matches are at the Rene Serge Nabajoth in Abymes.
Grenada will have English Premiership striker Jason Roberts terrorising defences.
Cayman were undefeated in the last round, held at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, beating St Martin 3-0 and drawing 1-1 with Antigua and Barbuda and 0-0 with Bermuda.
Cayman continued their improving form against a Clarendon All Stars side two weeks ago, losing the first game 2-1 and winning the second 1-0 through a wonderful Calvin Jefford strike.
At the start of this week Brown had not yet announced his squad of 20 although he had already decided, more or less, who would be in.
‘I’m just giving them a couple more days to see who will be fit because we really need a strong squad to go to Guadeloupe, it’s going to be very hectic,’ he said.
‘Right now we have nothing to lose. We should be the weakest of the teams in the tournament and therefore anything we do from here on will be a bonus. I believe the players understand that but you know what, they want to do well.
‘We have one advantage going for us. Hopefully, the other teams will take us pretty lightly and we can use that as a weapon. We hope to surprise them. It’s important that we play at our very best.’
Cayman will play a Miami-based side in a friendly on their way to Guadeloupe, possibly Miami FC, the Major League Soccer outfit. ‘We might not get their first string team but if we get their second string side it will be good for us.
‘Barring that we’ll try to get one of the Haitian teams that are in the Fort Lauderdale area. I’m certain that we’ll get a good game against them.’
Jefford has been one of Cayman’s most consistent players recently. Captain Tom Elliot is back to full fitness after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle in April. It’s an amazingly quick recovery and testament to Elliot’s work ethic to physiotherapy and training.
Brown is reluctant to single out players, team spirit is vital for success. Others who will be seriously tested include keeper Jermaine Brown and striker Gary ‘Wizzard’ Whittaker who bagged the Cayman goal in the first match against Clarendon. Centre backs Horace Nelson and Leighton Elliott will be busy too.
‘When you go into a tournament it’s about how you play as a team.
‘It’s about the chemistry we develop and that is coming on well. The team is getting to know each other well. Jefford and players like Rene Carter will have to play well.
‘In a tournament like this you hope your better players play well. If they don’t then you are in trouble. Jefford knows his responsibility out there. He has been getting goals for us and that is his primary job.
‘Dion Brandon is away at school. He had an injury in the Digicel campaign but he is back in training and should join us soon. Again, he’s another player we have to look at for fitness.’