Fitness really kicked in

Cayman’s girls Under-20 football team returned home over the weekend from their last World Cup qualifier but are already back in intensive training for their next round of games.

They beat Suriname 4-0 and lost 1-0 to the powerful Trinidad & Tobago last week but that goal came in the 93rd minute and considering the Trinis are one of the top sides in the Caribbean, it was encouraging for the Caymanians. Some of the Trinis played in last year’s World Cup Finals at Under-17 level so that is the measure of their quality.

Cayman captain Jessica Ebanks and fellow centre half Tacita Berry were solid at the back against the Trinidadians. Cayman keeper Emily Kelly was called into action in the 71st minute producing a great save to keep the score level. It looked destined for a draw until the heartbreaking strike in the dying moments.

Trinidad & Tobago head coach Marlon Charles was so impressed he congratulated the Cayman girls after the match on their fighting spirit, claiming he had never seen a country with such a small population perform like that.

Jessica Ebanks said: “The Trinidad & Tobago game showed us the level of football that we want to aspire to. We matched a very good team and I personally gained a lot from the Trinidad loss. Looking forward we are focused and ready for the next round.”

The next stage of World Cup qualifications are from 5-12 December. Fitness coach Thiago Cunha said: “We were already very fit but we will concentrate now on raising our fitness levels in the gym and on the pitch and training on the beach. I noticed against Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago they were cramping up in the second half but we were not. But we still have to push ourselves to the limit in training.

“Our best player was God. We have a strong connection with God. We hope to have some friendlies to keep us sharp, possibly in Miami.”

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