Anxious to reach next round

Although drawing 1-1 on Saturday
and losing 2-0 on Sunday to Jamaica’s Premier League team Humble Lions in two
friendly games, the Cayman Islands national senior men’s team are upbeat and
feel totally ready for the Digicel Caribbean Cup tournament.

It starts on Saturday when they
face St Martin in Puerto Rico. Technical director Carl Brown said: “I was very
happy with the commitment of the players. It’s not very easy to play a back to
back game against an opponent who is physically and technically better. The
national team played with pride and commitment and that was the most pleasing
part to me of the two games.

“These games helped us to evaluate
the team and to be better able to prepare ourselves for our first game against
St Martin. I take this opportunity to continue to plea for support for the
national programme as these youngsters leave the island on Thursday as ambassadors
representing the Cayman Island in this regional competition.”

Fitness trainer Thiago Cunha said:
“For me I am very proud to see how well the Cayman Islands players performed
physically and technically during those two games. Most of these players have
been trained by me since 2003. It is very hard to play back to back games
especially against a team who has played five Premier League games already in a
competition.

“Most of our players were
overweight when they started training this year with the national programme and
it’s amazing to see how they have lost weight and performed well in these
games. Some have lost as much as 10lbs. We cannot win every time but I am very
proud to see them compete and fight hard to the end. International games are
like warfare, we are going to use these mistakes to get better prepared for the
Digicel Caribbean Cup games in Puerto Rico.”

In Saturday’s game it was a
spirited Cayman team who took the lead after making some threatening advances
towards the Humble Lions half. Theron Wood and Mark Ebanks along with captain
Ian Lindo made life difficult for the visitors. This effort resulted in a foul
in the penalty area and Paul Brown wasted no time in placing the ball behind
Shawn Sawyers.

During the second half Humble Lions
made some substitutions and this made the game more competitive. In the 67th
minute Humble Lions scored through Ziecko Herrera for the equaliser.

Sunday’s game was another severe
test for Cayman. This time they held the visitors till half time. However, in
the 56th and 58th minute Humble Lions capitalised on some errors and scored
through Denzil Watson and Kemar Mills. 

Cayman’s confidence was boosted by
playing these friendlies. It was an opportunity to get some real competition
from outside of the country. This was very important and the Cayman Islands Football
Association, despite extreme financial pressure, made it possible at the last
moment. In any competition a player’s confidence is very important going into a
tournament and these two games will boost their confidence and to demonstrate
what they have learnt in training.

The team has been in training for
this regional competition from December. They feel confident they can do well
enough to get to the next round. They play Anguilla on Monday and Puerto Rico
two days later.

The squad travelling on Thursday
is: captain Ian Lindo, Garth Anderson, Jermaine Brown (keeper), Rene Carter,
Jairo Sanchez, Tex Whitelocke, Donald Solomon Jr, Ramon Sealy, Luiji Hernandez,
Leighton Elliott, Oneil Taylor, Theron Wood, Mark Ebanks, Andre McFarlane,
Derrin Ebanks, Lorenzo Brown, Nicholas Ebanks, Leon Whittaker, Ramon Sealy and
Paul Brown.

CIFA press officer Beverly
Melbourne said: “We at CIFA just want to ask the community to pray for these
players and continue to support them in their quest to put the island on the
map.

Thanks to our sponsors who have
never disappointed us when we call on them for assistance such as Bodden
Beverages, Digicel, Euro Car, Progressive Distributors, Advance Chevrolet,
Comfort Suites, Westin Resort and Spa, Mikes Ice, Cayman Distributors and
Island Cleaners.”

 

For more information on the CIFA
events call the CIFA office at 949-5775 or email [email protected]

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