U17s put their faith in God

They almost upset the odds but came back in a blaze of glory by almost succeeding in pulling off a difficult task.

Cayman’s Under-17 girls football team came back from Haiti in the World Cup qualifiers confident that they can get the job done against Dominican Republic.

Cayman beat the Bahamas 2-1, obliterated British Virgin Islands 13-0 and lost narrowly to the hosts 1-0.

The next challenge to get to the next round of World Cup matches is to beat the Dominicans in a two-leg playoff in a couple of weeks.

Coach Bobby McLaren thinks it is well within the girls’ grasp. ‘I’m not disappointed with the loss to Haiti,’ he said. ‘The girls, I believe went beyond themselves. There were 25,000 people in the stadium and they were playing for the first time away from home.

‘Haiti did what they had to do but we had our chances and didn’t capitalise. It was a very close game, just the response from the people in Haiti, I am more than happy. I’ve seen teams with less pressure but never seen them perform how these girls did.

‘I’m very confident that we will advance. Dominican Republic may be a much bigger country but it doesn’t matter. Haiti is much bigger too and they had to scrape to beat us. We’re not going to make the same mistakes, I promise you that.

‘What makes these girls so special is their belief in God and they truly believe that everything is possible.

Fitness coach Thiago Cunha said: ‘We played three excellent matches. The first one was very competitive. Bahamas scored first but we hit back with two.

‘Against BVI we scored 13. We pressured them from the first minute to the end and against Haiti we played an excellent game. In the first half we did well. In the second half the Haitians started talking about Cayman, they were so impressed. When you choose in God, good things come.

‘We know some things about the Dominican Republic because Jamaica played them and beat them 8-0 and when we played Jamaica two months ago we only lost 3-2.

‘We look forward to playing them away and then coming back here to play them and celebrate.’

Vice-captain Brianna Hydes, said: ‘I’m beyond happy, thank God.

‘I wouldn’t say that Haiti were way better than us because both sides were really good teams but like coach Bobby said, one lapse in concentration and it can cost you the game.

‘We let our guard down for a few minutes and let go the game. I don’t know much about Dominican Republic but coach Bobby’s got us pretty much this far and I’m confident we’re going to go out there and do what we have to do and that’s win.’