Time to kick in new methods

The Cayman Islands suffered their fourth consecutive loss in Group A of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, losing 4-0 away to El Salvador on Tuesday.  

Ramon Sealy was called away from the University of West Florida to keep goal for Cayman and helped to keep the score down in atrocious conditions, brought on by torrential rain that delayed the start by over an hour.  

El Salvador beat Cayman at home a month ago 4-1 and remain top of the group, having won all four. The Dominican Republic, who threatened a victory in previous games, finally got the job done with a 3-1 result at Suriname. Even so, the Dominicans join Cayman in going out of the competition, with first place to be decided between El Salvador and Suriname.  

Cayman’s dismal goal difference for the four matches is 10-1 against. The lone score was a penalty by Mark Ebanks in the first El Salvador match.  

Technical director Carl Brown was disappointed before the last two matches that Cayman players did not turn up often enough to train and there were no warm-up games to get them match sharp. He feels the players have so little motivation that they need to get at least a stipend to keep them committed.  

The players not turning up is one battle that all Cayman coaches have faced over the years, said one former national team player who didn’t want to go on record. The player said that the best turn out he ever saw was under Brown when he first arrived four years ago.  

One of Brown’s first assignments was to take the Cayman team to Cuba for Olympic Under-23 duty. Cayman did not get through but players like Benjamin Cupid, Donovan ‘Naddy’ Solomon Jnr, Dion Brandon and Tex Whitelocke shone then and are still part of the set-up now. Theron Woods and Mark Ebanks have a lot of promise as strikers but the whole system needs overhauling to improve national team results.  

General feeling when Brown arrived was that the players were able to relate better to him and his mythology because he was from a neighbouring country with a similar mentality – that and his track record with the Jamaica team that went to the World Cup finals in 1998. But patchy results and wholesale changes of personnel have led to a lack of motivation and Brown faces an uphill task now to raise expectations.  

deon brandon

Dion Brandon was offered a pro contract in England with Luton four years ago. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD